West Lothian thug jailed for part in ATM robberies around the country

A West Lothian thug has been jailed for his involvement in a spate of ATM robberies which were carried out with a violent gang at locations across the country.

Gordon McPhee (37) was found guilty of conspiracy to commit a non-dwelling burglary with intent to steal and conspiracy to steal from another after a trial in February and sentenced to six years.

The criminal gang he was involved in was centred in the East Midlands and committed more than £1 million worth of damage and theft against cash machines across the UK.

A probe led by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit in collaboration with Police Scotland, revealed that, since March 2021, 17 attacks were committed by the group against ATMs across the UK with more than £600,000 in cash stolen and vehicle theft and building damage at a cost upwards of £1 million.

The gang was found 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.

For those machines situated in a building, the gang would use a power tools or vehicles to smash through doors, then used 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 several attacks across the border.

A breakthrough came in January 2022, when two gang members 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 later searches of suspect vehicles and CCTV – including the Audi, stolen from Merseyside a few months earlier, which was found burnt out in Huntingdon – recovered Scottish bank notes, drills and saws and receipts for items such as face masks, gloves and dark clothing.

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.”

He continued: “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.”

Jailing the men, His Honour Judge Brown said: “These are serious and organised crimes, and I have a duty to impose substantial sentences.”

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