Duo jailed for using explosives to raid ATMs

Two men have been jailed for a total of almost 30 years for using explosives to steal and try to steal cash machines in Essex and London.

Between November 27 2019 and January 14 2020, Anthony Crowley and James Whitlock targeted eight cash machines.

They used gas, fuel, and in one case resorted to throwing a petrol bomb, to steal ATMs from locations in Brentwood, Wickford, Clacton, and West Hanningfield in Essex and Plaistow, Woodford Green, Cold Harbour, and Brixton in London.

In total they stole nearly £50,000 and caused around £15,000 in damage.

Through a combination of forensics, phone work, and information from automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, detectives were able to link the trio to, or place them at, the scenes of the offences.

Crowley caught on CCTV in Market Road, Wickford

Warrants at address in Wickford, Walton-on-the-Naze, and Hornchurch and searches of vehicles also resulted in items which could link the men to the offences being found.

They were arrested on January 16 2020.

Crowley, 37, of no fixed address, was later charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of a Class A drug, and handling stolen goods.

Whitlock, 36, of Alfred Terrace, Walton-on-the-Naze, was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, handling stolen goods, and failing to comply with a serious crime prevention order.

They admitted the charges and at Basildon Crown Court on Monday January 17.

Crowley was jailed for 14 and-a-half years and Whitlock was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Lee Morton, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Anthony Crowley and James Whitlock when to extreme lengths to steal from money from cash machines.

“The methods they used posed a serious risk to the welfare of people living and working near to the ATMs they targeted and it was fortunate no-one was injured.

“They stole tens of thousands of pounds and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“Their actions, driven by greed and their own financial gain, were reckless even throwing a petrol bomb at one cash machine they had failed to get into.

“We carried out an exhaustive investigation which carefully pieced together evidence from various sources to build this case and I’m pleased we have been able to bring these men to justice.

“They will now face a significant amount of time behind bars as a result.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]