Merseyside Police can confirm that two men have today (Thursday, 10 July) been convicted following a Crown Court trial for a series of thefts/attempt thefts from cash machines across the North West and central England.

A further three men pleaded guilty in an earlier hearing.

All five men were charged with Conspiracy to cause an explosion under s.3 (1) (a) Explosive Substances Act 1883,and Conspiracy to commit burglary other than a dwelling, Contrary to Sec 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977.

·         Thomas Whittingham, 28 years, of Broughton Hall Road, West Derby was found guilty of both offences

·         Anthony Bushell. 29 years. of Childers Street, Old Swan was found guilty of both offences

·         Craig Cartwright, 39 years, of Vinecote Road, Coventry was found guilty of both offences

·         Kurt Beddoes, 31 years of Hanford Avenue, Orrell Park was found guilty of both offences

·         Ian Ellis, 30 years, of Warrington Road, Rainhill was found guilty of both offences

All five men are to be sentenced on Friday, 5 September

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ABOVE: Santander Birkdale Village Southport

These men were responsible for ATM attacks at 28 premises (banks, post offices and supermarkets) in Wirral, Lancashire, Cheshire, Southport, Liverpool, Prescot, Loughborough, Gloucester, Birmingham, Northampton and Derby. These attacks resulted in losses to the businesses targeted by the thieves, of approximately £1.5m, not to mention damage to the properties estimated to be in excess of £200,000.

Detective Chief Inspector Gayle Rooney, from the Matrix Serious Organised Crime Team, said: “This is a culmination of year long investigation into crimes involving thefts from cash point machines across the North West and Central England.”

“Since January 2013, officers from the specialist Matrix Serious Organised Crime Team have worked tirelessly, using all the resources available to us to identify those responsible and take positive action.”

“This has included working closely with Warwickshire and West Mercia Police, and both the North West and Midlands Regional Organised Crime Units, as well as detectives from ten other forces.”

DCI Rooney, added: “These five men thought they were untouchable and they used hazardous tactics in targeting ATM’s, clearly endangering members of the public. The techniques used by the men involved in these attacks were extremely dangerous and we are fortunate that no-one was hurt.

“Offenders often believe that by committing crimes in different force areas they can escape detection and arrest, but police forces across the country do work together, regardless of boundaries. This case is an example of painstakingly piecing together huge amounts of complex evidence, to bring people to justice.

“It was a thorough, extensive investigation by officers from the Matrix Serious Organised Crime Team. I would like to thank all of those involved in the investigative process and the Crown Prosecution Service, who have worked together to bring these men to justice.”

“These men were driven by greed and a need to fund lavish lifestyles, expensive cars, holidays and large houses. They didn’t’ think about the danger of what they were doing and the potential that they could cause serious and significant injuries to others through their reckless actions.”

“These convictions send out a strong message to those who commit these types of crime. Merseyside Police is, and will always be, relentless in its targeting of criminals involved in serious and organised crime and for us there are no boundaries.”

Maria Corr, Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service Mersey-Cheshire, has worked on the case throughout the investigation and charged all of the defendants. This involved working closely with West Mercia, Merseyside and other police forces.

She said: “This has been a complex and painstaking investigation and we would like to thank the police for their work in helping us bring these men to justice.

“The cash machines were often in residential areas and these men blew them up without a thought for the safety of the local community or the inconvenience caused to people who needed to get cash.

“This was an organised gang who thought of nothing but their own criminal greed. Their conviction should send a message out that people who get involved in this sort of activity will be caught.”

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