Ram-raid gang admit £400K burglary spree across east of England

Co-op in Fulbourn after ram-raid
Image caption The gang admitted a string of raids including one in Fulbourn in Cambridgeshire

Five men have admitted carrying out a series of ram-raids and burglaries which netted more than £400,000.

Joseph Upton, John Smith, Albert Smith, John Christopher Smith and Alfred Stanley, all from Cambridgeshire or Bedfordshire, carried out raids at 12 banks in 2012.

They used JCB diggers to smash into businesses across Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The five will be sentenced on Tuesday, Bedfordshire Police said.

Image copyright Barbara Stimpson
Image caption About £36,000 was taken from a cash machine at Barclays Bank in Long Sutton, Lincolnshire

The string of raids and house burglaries took place between January and October 2012.

Two homes were burgled in Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, two in Cambridge and Chatteris in Cambridgeshire, and one home in King's Lynn in Norfolk.

Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Joseph Upton, John Leonard Smith, Albert Smith and Alfred Stanley all admitted two counts of conspiracy to burgle

The gang used diggers to break into businesses before ripping out cash machines and escaped in vehicles they had stolen in various burglaries across the region.

Image copyright Beds Police
Image caption John Christopher Smith admitted one count of conspiracy to burgle

In total, they got away with £301,560 from cash machines and stole cars and jewellery worth more than £100,000, Bedfordshire Police said.

They also caused damage to buildings estimated at costing £250,000 to repair.

'Organised gang'

Upton, 43, of Murrow Lane, Parsons Drove, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, John Smith, 39, of Small Lode, in Upwell, Cambridgeshire, Albert Smith, 38, of Common Road, in Potton, Bedfordshire, and Alfred Stanley, 37, of Sandon Close, in Sandy, Bedfordshire, had all been jailed in 2013 for a violent burglary at a farmhouse in Bedfordshire, when police began investigating them for the spree of ram raids.

They each pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to burgle when they appeared at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday.

John Christopher Smith, 23, of Werrington Bridge Road in Peterborough, admitted one count of conspiracy to burgle.

Det Sgt Stuart Dolan described them as "an organised gang" and said the number of similar offences had "reduced dramatically" since the arrest of the five men.

2012 ram raids included:

  • 16 May - £90,000 stolen from HSBC in Reepham, Norfolk
  • 29 May - £39,000 stolen from Wilkinson Financial Services in Ruskington, Lincolnshire
  • 13 June - £39,000 taken from N&P Building Society in Aylsham Road, Norwich
  • 2 August - £36,000 stolen from a cash machine at Barclays Bank in Long Sutton, Lincolnshire
  • 14 September - £76,000 stolen from a cash machine in Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire
  • 5 October - £23,000 taken from a cash machine in Crowland, Lincolnshire

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