Two criminals who blew up a cash machine on a forecourt in Trafford, Greater Manchester, have been sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison.

Mark Marfleet (25/10/1979) of Palatine Road, Sale, was sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court on Friday 4 November to 11 and a half years in prison after being found guilty of robbery and conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

Paul Warmisham (29/06/1981) of Chorley Road, Sale, was sentenced to eight and a half in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

Their first attack was on Timperley Post Office when in the early hours of 3 June 2015, police were called after reports of an explosion so powerful that it had caused nearby properties to shake.

Police attended and found the cash machine at the post office had been blown up; causing significant damage to the post office it was connected to.

A woman and her four-year-old son living in a flat above the post office had to be rescued through an upstairs window after the explosion caused significant damage to their home and filled the property with smoke.

The damage to the ATM was estimated to be over £10,500 and the damage to the post office an estimated £30,500-plus. It is not known how much cash was taken from the ATM.

Police received a similar report of an explosion at Patington Service Station on Smithy Lane on 25 September 2015.

On this occasion, the ATM damage was believed to be around £5,000 and the damage to the service station in excess of £6,000. The thieves got away with around £41,200 in cash from the ATM.

Further enquiries into both incidents established that Warmisham and Marfleet had been involved and that the method used to blow up the cash machines saw them filled with gas before it was ignited.

Detectives were also able to link Marfleet to a robbery at a convenience store on Old Hall Road in Sale the early hours of Christmas Eve (24 December) that same year.

The court heard that a lone member of staff had opened the store and was in the process of putting the newspapers out when two men came into the store and one of them doused the shopkeeper in petrol.

The men, particularly Marfleet, repeatedly threatened to set the member of staff alight if he did not obey their commands.

After finishing their psychological torture of the shop worker, the pair eventually left the store with cash and cigarettes.

Detective Constable Matt Whittaker of Greater Manchester Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Group, said: “Not only did Marfleet and Warmisham cause significant damage and financial loss for stakeholders but they also put the lives of local residents at serious risk.

“The fact that nobody was serious hurt in either of the ATM incidents is nothing short of remarkable.

“On top of those incidents, Marfleet later subjected a poor man to an absolutely terrifying order and psychological torture after dousing him in petrol during a robbery.

“He repeatedly threatened to set the man on fire and burn down the store if he did not follow his every order leading to the shopkeeper understandably fearing for his life.

“I would like to pay tribute to him for the bravery he has shown throughout this investigation and I hope the sentence passed here today will give all those affected by these two men some closure.”