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ATM gang sentenced to total of 55 years in jail

John Wood ·
police handcuffs

A criminal gang responsible for thefts of cash machines across the South East that caused damage costing more than £1m have been sentenced to a total of 55 years in jail.

The successful prosecutions follow an investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate which began in April 2018.

It covered a series of cross border commercial and dwelling burglaries, car thefts and ATM thefts spanning counties including Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Thames Valley and London between 24 March 2018 and 5 March 2019.

The ATM offences took place between February and August 2018 in Broxbourne, Corringham, West Kingsdown, South Ockendon, Rainham in London, Gravesend, Epsom, Hutton, Loughton, Pilgrims Hatch and Redbourn. The men admitted to nine of them.

Following the offences, specialist officers focused on the activities of a family living at Fern Hill caravan site in Harlow and their associates.

They carried out a search of properties in Brentwood, Harlow and Stansted Abbots on 5 March this year, and eight men were arrested with two more questioned over following weeks.

They were charged and remanded in prison.

Walter Mitchell Junior, Shane Stanley, Walter Mitchell Senior, Levi Mitchell, William Mitchell, Sid Clark, Jack Mitchell and Ross Whitford were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday 18 October.

Mitchell Junior was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit theft and conspiracy to handle stolen goods on Tuesday 17 September. The other eight men previously pleaded guilty to a conspiracy offences at an earlier date.

Scott McManus, 43, of Chapelfields, Stanstead Abbots, was found not guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary on Tuesday 17 September. A jury were unable to reach a decision on conspiracy to handle stolen goods and the case against him was dismissed.

Superintendent Andy Waldie, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “These men were highly organised and dangerous. We believed they would put our officers and members of the public at risk of harm and violence in their attempts to escape.

“They were able to get away from scenes quickly, leaving very little forensic opportunities before destroying the stolen vehicles they used.

“Even when the whole ATMs were stolen, sometimes they were able to get away from scenes in under a minute.

“We estimate that theft and damage costing more than a £1m was caused by this group of men over the course of a year.

“The case file involved over 100 investigations including 35 commercial burglaries and burglaries across 14 towns and villages in the eastern region.

"A 500-page timeline and presentation was compiled and presented to the Crown Prosecution Service as evidence.”

Marc Terry, international managing director for Cardtronics, said: “Let these sentences be a warning for anyone out there contemplating an attack on our Secure ATMs.

“These results show that our Secure ATM initiative is exceptionally effective in helping the police track down, catch and send to jail those who attempt to attack Cardtronics machines.

“Congratulations and our thanks go to the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate for its excellent work in helping us to protect access to cash for local and rural communities, who rely on ATMs for basic banking services.

“Our work does not stop here – we are fighting to protect access to cash across the whole of the UK and will not rest until ATM crime is eradicated and ceases to be a threat to communities and their residents.

“Those considering an attack should think again, as they will be caught and sent to jail for a very long time.”

Walter Mitchell Junior, 22, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow, received eight years in custody for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries, conspiracy to commit dwelling burglaries, conspiracy to handle stolen goods and conspiracy to commit theft of motor vehicles;

Shane Stanley, 37, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow, received a nine-year custodial sentence for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries and conspiracy to handle stolen goods;

Walter Mitchell Senior, 42, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow, received a nine-year custodial sentence for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries and conspiracy to handle stolen goods;

Levi Mitchell, 35, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow, received a seven-year custodial sentence for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries;

William Mitchell, 30, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow, received a seven-year custodial sentence for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries;

Sid Clark, 32, of Broadfield Harlow, received a four-year custodial sentence for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries;

Ross Whitford, 24, of Rock Lane, Hastings, received a four-year custodial sentence for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries;

Jack Mitchell, 20, of Kingsmoor Road, Harlow, received a seven-year custodial sentence for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries.

Tommy Mitchell, 19, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow, is due to be sentenced on Friday 25 October for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries, conspiracy to commit dwelling burglaries and conspiracy to handle stolen goods.

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