NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Men convicted of £130,000 ATM raids in Aberdeenshire

Kevin Schruyers and Joseph McHale Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Kevin Schruyers (left) and Joseph McHale were convicted

Thieves have been found guilty of using explosives to blow up cash machines in a series of raids which netted more than £130,000 across Aberdeenshire.

Joseph McHale, 38, Kevin Schruyers, 42, and Robin Vaughan, 43, all from Liverpool, were part of a gang who targeted ATMs.

The gang struck in the early hours of the morning at machines in Stonehaven, Inverurie, Aberdeen, New Deer and Ellon between August and November 2013.

Sentence was deferred.

They used oxygen and acetylene to get to the safes behind the ATMs.

At the High Court in Glasgow, McHale and Schruyers were convicted of blowing up the cash machine at Scotmid in North Deeside Road, Bieldside, Aberdeen and stealing £112,000.

Image caption A Bieldside store was one target

They were also found guilty of blowing up an ATM at the Royal Bank of Scotland in New Deer and stealing £21,020.

The pair were also convicted of blowing up four ATMs in Ellon, Stonehaven, Inverurie and Aberdeen and attempting to steal from them, and stealing a quantity of clothing, golf equipment and money from the golf professional shop at the Paul Lawrie Centre in Aberdeenshire.

The duo were also found guilty of attempting to break into a cash machine in Mintlaw by using a crowbar.

Vaughan admitted blowing up the ATM in New Deer and Bieldside. He also admitted trying to force open the ATM in Mintlaw using a crowbar.

The focus of the investigation led to Liverpool after a number of Scottish banknotes started to circulate in the Mersey area.

Red dye

Many of these notes had edges cut off in a bid to remove the signs of dye which went on to them.

Others had some red dye on them even though the gang had tried to remove all traces of it.

The court heard they duped Francis Clark into providing them with a hideaway after a meeting at a party.

The court heard that Mr Clark was originally a suspect in the case, but appeared during the trial as a witness.

Lady Scott deferred sentence until next month at the High Court at Livingston.

Ch Insp Graeme Mackie, of Police Scotland, said afterwards: "This was a complex police enquiry.

"I would like to commend the effort and work undertaken by all the officers involved in this enquiry and also the public, whose assistance was vital.

"There is no place for serious organised crime in Scotland."

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