Men jailed after ATM explosions

Mick Ferris
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Two men have been jailed after they tried and failed to blow up two ATM machines.

Jamie Masters and Wayne Lewis attempted to access cash at ATMs outside banks in the Newlands Centre, in Witham, and outside Tesco, in Mandeville Way, in Laindon.

In total, the pair’s actions resulted in more than £100,000 damage and on both occasions, they were unsuccessful and left with nothing.

Masters and Lewis’ first attempt, at the Witham ATM, took place in the early hours of March 22 2022. The pair were caught on CCTV placing a gas cannister at the ATM before they then ignited the gas using a makeshift explosive, causing an explosion which left significant damage to the premises. It did not, however, access any cash.

On April 11 two men were caught on CCTV outside Tesco, in Laindon, as they again placed a gas cannister near to the ATM. On this occasion, the makeshift explosive they attempted to use did not ignite the gas and instead caused a firework-like explosion which, again, did not access any cash.

Through further investigation and CCTV analysis police were able to identify the men as Masters and Lewis and both were arrested during early morning warrants on Friday April 29, 2022.

They were subsequently charged with conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to cause an explosion with intent to endanger life or property and both men admitted the charges.

They appeared today, Tuesday March 21, at Southend Crown Court to be sentenced.

Masters, 34, of Sackville Crescent, Romford, was sentenced to a total of six years and eight months in prison while Lewis, 42, of Upper Road, Woodford Green, was sentenced to a total of six years.

Detective Inspector Frazer Low, of the serious and organised crime unit, said: “More than anything else, the actions of Lewis and Masters were incredibly dangerous, to themselves, to anyone who was nearby and to the property they were targeting.

“Neither had the knowledge or skills to control explosions and they put the safety of the public – and themselves – at significant risk.”

Masters and Lewis at the ATMs at Tesco in Laindon

Mick Ferris

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