England

Pair jailed for blowing up cash machines in Kent and Buckinghamshire

Victor Coseru (left) & Gica-Fanica Radu Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Victor Coseru (left) and Gica-Fanica Radu targeted five cash machines before they were successful

Two thieves who used explosive devices to break into cash machines in Kent and Buckinghamshire have been jailed.

Victor Coseru, 28, and Gica-Fanica Radu, 36, both from Romania, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and causing an explosion with intent.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how they targeted five cash machines between 18 January and 7 February this year.

The pair used a property in Luddenham Close in Ashford, Kent, as their base and carried out the attacks at night.

They were unsuccessful in their first four attempted raids, fleeing empty-handed.

Their fifth and final attempt was successful, with the pair stealing more than £35,000.

Radu was jailed for 18 years, and Coseru for 15 years.

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Media captionThe gang blew up cash machines in Ashford and Gerrards Cross
  • The first attempt was at a cash machine at a Tesco store in London Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, at 01:22 GMT on 18 January, where significant damage was caused.
  • The following night, Radu and Coseru travelled to a Sainsbury's Local store in Porters Way, West Drayton, west London, at 03:45 GMT. They were seen on CCTV being dropped off by car and using tools to force open the casing to the cash dispenser, inserting an explosive. Although the device was detonated, they failed to reach the cash box.
  • The cash machine at Barclays Bank in Station Approach, Gerrards Cross, in Buckinghamshire, was targeted at 04:35 GMT on 30 January using the same method as before, which was also unsuccessful. One of the men then tried to break into the bank and force open the safe door.
  • The fourth failed attempt took place at a branch of Nationwide in The Broadway, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, at about 04:20 GMT on 2 February.
  • Coseru was then seen buying a heavy duty axe later that day in Ashford, which was used successfully on 7 February at the Co-op store in Kennington.

The pair were arrested by police at the Port of Dover on that same day as they tried to flee the country by ferry.

Senior investigating officer Det Insp James Derham, of Kent Police, said the men had travelled to the UK to steal from cash machines and intended to escape as soon as they had some money.

"There was a high level of planning and determination by these men, using explosive devices that have never been used for this crime type in the UK before," he said.

"However despite this, it still took them five attempts before they managed to steal any cash."

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