Terrifying CCTV shows hooded gang smash Scots shop with crowbars in ATM raid

Terrifying CCTV footage has shown a hooded gang smashing into a Scots shop with crowbars in a major ATM raid.

The video shows three of the brazen thieves blasting the glass door of the premises with the homeware devices on February 2, 2022. After forcing entry, the thugs then go on to move power tools through the door before breaking into an ATM.

Moments later, they can then be seen scrambling through the glass door having swiped a quantity of cash. The footage has been shared by Leicestershire Police after ten people were jailed for their involvement in committing over £1million worth of damage and theft against cash machines across the UK.

Gang members were located across the country, with numerous raids in England and Scotland. A cross-border police investigation found the thieves to be using two methods of attack, depending upon the type of automated teller.

If it was standalone, they would use a stolen van and straps to rip it from the ground. They would then steal the contents and make off in a stolen high-powered vehicle bearing false registration plates.

They forced entry through a smashed door
They forced entry through a smashed door -Credit:Leicestershire Police

For those machines situated in a building, the gang would use power tools or vehicles to smash through doors, then use a drill and other tools to access the contents of the ATM. Again, they would flee with the cash in a stolen car on false plates.

Most of those responsible were based in Leicestershire, with a key contact in Scotland to enable a number of attacks. They were coordinated by a core group of three – Patrick Gilheaney, John Smith and Tali Smith – who then used partners, relatives and other associates in an ‘on-call’ capacity to ensure the criminal operation ran smoothly.

A breakthrough came in January 2022, when Gilheaney and John Smith travelled from Peterborough to Scotland in a Fiat motorhome and returned to the Midlands a few days later. Also making the same journey was a blue Saab and a stolen grey Audi RS4, both on false registration plates. During that time, there were four ATM attacks across the central belt of Scotland and latter searches of suspect vehicles linked through ANPR (Automated Number Plate Reader) footage and CCTV – including the Audi, stolen from Merseyside a few months earlier, which was found burnt out in Huntingdon.

Police recovered Scottish bank notes, drills and saws and receipts for items such as face masks, gloves and dark clothing. In November 2022, hundreds of officers and staff from seven forces contributed to the execution of a number of warrants.

Gordon McPhee.
The gang were jailed

Among the significant arrests, items seized included stolen high-powered vehicles and car parts, further high-value vehicles and motorhomes, more than £30,000 in cash and two imitation firearms. Attempts by the gang to throw officers off the scent - by communicating only with ‘burner’ phones while travelling between attacks - were in vain.

Meticulous investigation and forensic examination of seized items brought each person into the frame. Pertinently, Gilheaney’s DNA was found on a crowbar left in a vehicle used in an attack in Loughborough on 15 March 2021 and Tali Smith’s DNA was found on the key to a stolen transit van, used in an attack in Attenborough, Nottinghamshire, in September 2021.

Gordon McPhee, from West Lothian, was jailed for six years for his involvement in the plot. The 37-year-old was sentenced after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit a non-dwelling burglary with intent to steal and conspiracy to steal from another following a trial at Leicester Crown Court in February.

EMSOU Detective Chief Inspector Darren Brown said: “This was a brash but technically skilled organised group, which found strength as a close-knit, omni-competent criminal community, operating under a clear leadership. On the face of it, this type of crime may seem victimless, but in attacking ATMs this group have attacked at the very heart of the community. Residents were left without a local means of accessing their cash.

"Many of these attacks also left vital community conveniences, such as Post Offices, petrol stations and ‘corner’ shops out of action while they were repaired. And then there’s the associated residential burglaries and thefts of the vehicles used in the crimes. The sentences given today reflect how seriously the criminal justice system views this type of organised offending and the harm it inflicts on society.

“Through some expert investigation and concerted effort we have also demonstrated the level at which UK policing can collaborate across county and country borders in order to protect our communities."

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