Real-life Italian Job: Gang toured UK stealing money from ATMs while sleeping in truck which housed their getaway cars

Nicola Harley
The raiders used tools to blast open cashpoints. - BPM MEDIA

In a plot akin to the Italian Job, a gang of criminals have toured the UK in high performance cars blowing up cash machines to steal more than half a million pounds.

Using transporters to live in, the gang transformed trucks into "high speed mobile bombs" to hide their luxury getaway cars, which included Audi RS4’s, RS6’s and Mercedes A45, and deadly explosive devices.

They were finally caught in a police shootout in Scotland.

Getaway cars and hammocks were found in the back of lorry used by ATM gang. Credit: Liverpool Echo

Now a judge in Liverpool has jailed the "ruthless" gang of seven for more than a 100 years in total.

Judge Alan Conrad QC described the gang as "arrogant, skilled, determined and ruthless".

"No doubt you were attracted by the thrill of organising and carrying out these offences - by acquiring and driving expensive high performance cars - the identification and reconnaissance of suitable targets - the putting in place of men and equipment - the high speed chases and the attempts to stay one step ahead of the police," he said.

"And then there was the money which has not been found, very considerable sums which enabled you to live comfortably without any honest work.

"The overwhelming impression that remains with me is one of breathtaking arrogance on your part."

During their year long campaign - which left a £200,000 trail of destruction - the thieves transported canisters of acetylene, oxygen, fuel and heavy cutting equipment in expensive vehicles they had stolen to target 13 cash machines in rural communities in England and Scotland.

The gang used a plot similar to the Italian Job.

They drove at dangerously high speeds - once reaching 150 mph to escape police - on busy motorways and narrow country roads and the presence of the canisters turning their vehicles into "potential high speed mobile bombs", according to prosecutor Ian Unsworth QC.

The high powered luxury vehicles they stole for their revolving fleet were conservatively estimated to be worth more than £320,000 and were used to enable the gang, using false registration plates, to cause "untold damage and distress" to the rural communities whose cash machines they destroyed, he added.

"It is clear from CCTV footage that each attack would involve about four people and a vehicle with a driver and potentially other people and vehicles nearby."

Between February 2015 and February last year there were 13 actual or attempted raids, eight of which were "gas attacks" and the other five "drag outs".

One of the cars used by the gang.

The gang stole Motorhomes to transport the equipment they used to carry out the ATM gas attacks.

Officers from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit recovered a Scania lorry with a stolen trailer unit which had been converted to house a stolen RS4, the trailer came complete with ramps so that the vehicle could be quickly loaded on to it following an offence.

The offenders also had hammocks strung up in the rear of the trailer so they could use it to rest and a number of large fuel canisters used to refuel the vehicles to cut down on visits to petrol stations and motorway forecourts. 

The first attack was at a Nat West bank in Reading and the final one was in Carnoustie, Scotland, where there had also been raids in Newtonhill and Kingswell in Aberdeenshire and in Perth. The others took place in the North West, Midlands and further South.

The court heard that four of the defendants were arrested after being seen in a white Mercedes by a McDonalds in Arbroath on February 12 last year shortly after a nearby Co-Op in Carnoustie was attacked.

Despite an officer pointing his firearm at the driver the gang reversed into the police vehicle and an officer used a shotgun to blow out one of the tyres.

Andrew White led the gang who blew up cash machines across the country. Credit: BPM MEDIA

The driver, Nanu Miah was arrested along with Andrew White, Cavanagh and Conroy.

The other defendants, White's brother Anthony, Michael Galea and Gary Carey had been arrested earlier during the crime campaign.

Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Green, who heads up the North West Regional Crime Unit (TITAN), said: "This is the culmination of an extensive 12-month investigation into crimes involving thefts from cashpoint machines across and throughout the UK and a number of burglaries at residential properties."

"These individuals believed they were untouchable and they used dangerous tactics in targeting ATM's, which clearly put members of the public at risk. The techniques used by the men involved in these attacks were extremely risky and we are fortunate that no-one was hurt."

Nanu Miah led the West Midlands side of the Italian Job gang.  Credit:  BPM MEDIA

Andrew White, 28, of St Helens was jailed for 19 years, Miah, 28, of Birmingham, was given a life sentence, Anthony White, 26, of Huyton, was jailed for 16 years; Carl Cavanagh, 33, of Huyton, for 11 years; Anthony Conroy, 29, of Wavertree, for 12 years; Galea, 41, of Prescot, 15 years; Carey, 40, of Tuebrook - who was only involved in one raid - received 10 years.

Cavanagh and Conroy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions and conspiracy to burgle but their co-accused were convicted of both conspiracies.

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