Two men sentenced after stealing thousands in series of ram raids including Finedon store

The ram raid in Finedon (picture by John Ellson)The ram raid in Finedon (picture by John Ellson)
The ram raid in Finedon (picture by John Ellson)
Two men have been sentenced after pleading guilty to being involved in a series of ram raids across the eastern region, stealing cash machines containing almost £300,000.

Tony Smith, 19, of Schole Road, Willingham, Cambridgeshire, and Charlie Oakley, 26, of George Street, Shefford, Bedfordshire, were sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday).

The crimes included a ram raid at the Premier Shop in Irthlingborough Road, Finedon, in April this year.

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Oakley received a six-year prison sentence after admitting to a number of the ram raids, while Smith was handed a five-year sentence in a youth offenders for his part in the series.

The duo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle in relation to a number of ram raids to steal cash machines across the eastern region.

As part of the crime spree in March and April 2018, they also stole a number of vehicles such as Land Rovers and Audis, which were used to ram into the stores and as get-away cars.

In total there were eight ram raids across seven different counties and a total of 24 offences.

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Each ATM contained thousands of pounds of cash and the raids caused more than £250,000 of damage in total to the businesses.

None of the cash has been recovered.

The men were arrested in April by officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) during a failed attempt to steal a cash machine from a store in Isleham, Cambridgeshire.

Detective Inspector Trevor Davidson, who led the investigation for ERSOU on behalf of forces across the eastern region, said: “This ruthless cross-border crime blitz saw hundreds of thousands of pounds being stolen, not to mention the significant amount of damage caused to the businesses affected, and the multiple vehicles stolen from innocent people across the region.

“This was an incredibly complex investigation due to the large number and geographical span of the offences, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of our officers, and the close working with forces in seven different counties, we have been able to bring these criminals to justice.

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“ERSOU is committed to tackling serious and organised criminals and we’re pleased to have been able to put these men behind bars, preventing any future offending from them, and hopefully sending a warning to others that you will not get away with this type of offending in the eastern region.”

A 17-year-old from Market Harborough has also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to burgle charge in relation to the same series of ram raids and will be sentenced later this month.

Smith and Oakley were sentenced for the following ram raids:

- Saturday, March 3 – Co-Op, Church Street, Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire, when a Land Rover was used to ram the store and remove the ATM machine containing a significant amount of money

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- Tuesday, March 20 – Co-Op, Main Road, Long Bennington, Lincolnshire, when a stolen Daihatsu 4x4 was used to steal an ATM containing thousands of pounds

- Monday, April 2 – Aldi, Bonds Lane, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, when a stolen Land Rover and an Audi were used in a bid to steal the ATM, but on this occasion the attempt was unsuccessful

- Monday, April 2 – The Guineas Shopping Centre, Newmarket, when an Audi and a stolen Land Rover were used to steal an ATM containing thousands of pounds

- Wednesday 4 April – Premier Shop, Irthlingborough Road, Finedon, Northamptonshire, when offenders used a Land Rover to pull the shutters off the store before stealing an ATM containing a substantial amount of cash

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- Friday, April 6 - A number of offenders wearing balaclavas and boiler suits arrived in a stolen Land Rover and stole a cash machine

- Monday, April 16 - One Stop, Feltwell, Thetford, Norfolk - offenders arrive at the store using two stolen Audis and use a disc cutter to gain entry to the shop, before stealing an ATM containing thousands of pounds

- Tuesday, April 17 – Co-Op, West Street, Isleham, Cambridgeshire, when offenders in the process of stealing an ATM were disturbed by police and fled from the scene. Oakley, Smith and a third person were subsequently arrested