Jason Mobey, Jimmy Shea and Les Keet, conspired to target various ATMs across Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, stealing in excess of half a million and causing approximately £900,000) in damage between July and November 2018.
The lengthy and complex investigation to identify the men involved in the conspiracies was run by Surrey and Sussex Police’s Serious Organised Crime Unit and involved gathering CCTV evidence, forensic investigations, piecing together a large volume of information provided by members of the public and covert tactics.
After gathering sufficient evidence, 70 officers from Surrey Police with the assistance of Sussex Police and Hampshire Constabulary, conducted various pre-dawn raids on 20 December 2018. During these searches police recovered clothing, vehicles and lifting/cutting equipment relating to offences.
“The award was for the innovative work to safeguard businesses and communities and we were commended for our collaborative and joint working during the operation.
Borough Commander for Waverley, Inspector Gary Smith added: “The ATM thefts last year caused misery for those businesses which were targeted, as well as causing a great deal of concern within the local community and I am delighted to see that those responsible have been brought to justice and will be behind bars for a considerable period of time.
“The actions of the five men not only caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage but also cost people their jobs and greatly inconvenienced local residents who had to travel further to withdraw their money.
The thefts led to significant costs for ATM provider, Cardtronics, who suffered sizable losses as a result.
A Cardtronics spokesperson wrote in the business impact statement: “Criminals think this is a victimless crime and they can’t be more wrong as when they steal monies this means as a business that is self-insured the people in the company could lose their jobs as the attacks, losses and monies stolen comes from the company’s bottom line.
“I can state with confidence that when our ATM machines are stolen not only do the public lose a measure of freedom but 99 per cent of the time the shop that housed the machine would have been destroyed due to the collateral damage caused by the plant machinery, some of which never reopened again.
Libby Clark from the CPS said: “These were a series of audacious, but very carefully planned raids, with the defendants stealing the equipment they needed from nearby building sites, so they could then repeatedly ram the ATMs and remove them, before taking them to remote areas to remove the cash from them.
“The impact of these robberies cannot be underestimated. It’s not just about the money they escaped with. In some cases, there were flats above the cash machines and large scale structural damage was caused to a number of the buildings. None of us can imagine the fear that people living in those flats would have experienced during the raid.
We would continue to encourage the public to report any suspicious vehicles or anyone seen acting suspiciously, as well as anyone with any information relating to any of the specific incidents that have taken place recently. Owners of plant machinery should also consider other safeguarding measures to property their property such as not leaving the equipment visible from the main road, concealing it at night and blocking access to it. Those renting equipment should keep any immobiliser code away from the machinery in a secure location.
If you have any information which could assist, please call us on 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.