Four men given total of nearly 20 years for series of smash-and-grab burglaries involving cash machines across country
A gang behind a series of cash machine burglaries have been were jailed for a total of nearly 20 years.
David Owens, 35, Shaun Ennis, 41, and Kevin Caveney, 26, disabled the alarm systems at colleges, service stations, amusement parks and caravan sites before attacking the bank machines to steal the cash inside.
The gang scoured the motorway network looking for targets across England before pulling off a series of burglaries between January and July of last year.
Owens was jailed for seven years, Ennis received six-and-a-half years and Caveney five years and nine months at Preston crown court on Monday after admitting a single charge of conspiracy to burgle, police said.
In addition Robin Vaughan, 39, was sentenced to 18 months for assisting offenders.
The gang, from Merseyside, were caught after a police surveillance operation following five burglaries in the West Midlands, Derbyshire, Cleveland, North Yorkshire and Cornwall in 2011.
On 9 January that year, Pershore College in Worcestershire was raided with its cash machine snatched before raiders fled in a Ford Transit van which was earlier seen in convoy with a Ford Focus registered to Owens.
On 30 March, burglars broke into Topspot service station in Marske, near Redcar in Cleveland and forced open an the bank machine to steal a quantity of cash.
The following month the restaurant at Flamingo Land in Malton, North Yorkshire was burgled and a large quantity of cash stolen from a machine that had been forced open with a crowbar.
The previous afternoon, Owens was caught on CCTV with Caveney in the restaurant playing pool.
And on 21 May the St Minver holiday park in Wadebridge, Cornwall, was burgled by offenders who used hand tools to remove the entire cash machine from floor brackets and left in a Vauxhall Insignia.
But a police patrol pursued the car and found it abandoned with the machine and cash still inside.
Inquiries revealed the car had been hired from a rental company in Bootle, Merseyside the day before by Ennis.
Under police surveillance, Owens and Caveney were seen on 16 June driving south along the M6 in a black Audi A3, stopping at various service stations without filling up.
The pair drove into Somerset, then Devon and Cornwall, again visiting motorway services, and occasionally village shops.
All the locations they stopped at had free-standing cash machines.
On 20 July, officers from Titan, the north-west organised crime unit, and Merseyside police swooped to round up the gang.
A search of Owen's home in Stockbridge Village, Liverpool revealed ?3,500 in cash, a heavy-duty angle grinder, a five-tonne jack, a large number of cash bags, dust masks and a 2011 British Road Atlas.
From Caveney's home in Speke, south Liverpool, officers recovered car hire documents for the Renault Megane used in the Preston College burglary.
And at Ennis's home in Stockbridge Village, clothing matching that seen being worn by all three suspects during the operation was found.
The four stole a substantial amount of cash from cash machines during eight burglaries between January and July 2011, Merseyside police said.
Detective Inspector Michael Fraser, from Titan, said: "Today's convictions reflect the persistence of our officers to see that justice is served on offenders who travel the country carrying out crimes."