Three men who used heavy machinery to smash cash machines out of forecourts, shops and banks in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, have been jailed for a combined total of more than 24 years.

Jason Mobey, Jimmy Shea and Les Keet, conspired to target various ATMs – including at Nutbourne Service Station, Nutbourne, Chichester, and Sleaford Service Station, Bordon, Hampshire – stealing in excess of £500,000 and causing approximately £900,000 in damage between July and November 2018.

The gang used heavy machinery to carry out night-time ram raids before stealing the cash machines.

Heavy machinery and getaway vehicles would be stolen, generally from close proximity to offence locations, and many of the vehicles stolen were subsequently burnt out in an attempt to destroy evidence.

The thefts led to significant costs for ATM provider, Cardtronics, which suffered sizeable 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% 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.

“The audacious nature of these attacks and the continued relentlessness not only had an impact on our company resources but those of the police and the tax payer.”

Jason Mobey, 40, of Macdonald Road, Farnham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary (non-dwelling) and conspiracy to commit robbery. He was jailed for 10 years, eight months at Hove Crown Court.

Jimmy Shea, 24, of Nursery Road, Alton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary (non-dwelling). He was jailed for six years.

Les Keet, 29, of Cobbetts Close, Normandy, pleaded guilty conspiracy to commit burglary (non-dwelling) and conspiracy to commit robbery. He was jailed for eight years.

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.”