Gang that carried out botched cash-point raids across Birmingham is jailed

Four members of a gang have been jailed for more than 24 years combined after a series of botched cash-point raids across Birmingham.

The men tried to steal an ATM from an off-licence. Photo: West Midlands Police
The men tried to steal an ATM from an off-licence. Photo: West Midlands Police

The burglars smashed vans into banks and building societies, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage, before fleeing in a getaway car.

And when one member was arrested during a raid in May last year, he claimed he had Covid-19 and threatened to "be sick" on the police officers.

Now the men, all from Birmingham, have been locked up after a major investigation by the force uncovered a raft of evidence against the gang.

The crime spree started in October 2018 when a stolen van was driven into the side of the Nationwide building society on Coventry Road, Small Heath.

They had a second van to take the cash machine away with them, but failed and sped away in a high-powered Audi, with their next hit coming in March.

On March 1, 2019, they tied straps to a cash machine at Lloyds Bank in Bordesley Green but fled in their Audi again when police arrived at the scene.

The gang failed to drag a cash machine from Mecca Bingo in Kingstanding three days later, and used a stolen van in a failed attempt to steal a cash machine from the Drink Buster on Bromford Drive, Bromford, on March 12.

A stolen van was rammed into the Acfold Road Post Office in Handsworth on May 10, with the spree reaching a new level on August 8, 2019, when the group used two stolen vans – and an Audi taken in a car key burglary in Sutton Coldfield – to ram the Birchfield Road Post Office. As officers arrived, the gang threw a hammer at them and sped off in an Audi.

Chad Lee. Photo: West Midlands Police

Chad Lee, aged 30, of Hartwell Road in Erdington, was sentenced to 10 years and two months behind bars for drugs offences, burglary and assaulting an emergency worker after he spat, coughed and claimed he had Covid during his arrest.

Corey Jones. Photo: West Midlands Police

Corey Jones, aged 30, of Minstead Road in Erdington, was jailed for five years and three months at the hearing at Birmingham Crown Court on June 4. Police recovered a text from him to his girlfriend where he bragged about the Lloyds Bank raid, saying she'd be able to see it on the internet.

Ishmael Farquharson. Photo: West Midlands Police

Ishmael Farquharson, aged 30, of Lyncroft Road, Yardley, was jailed for three years and two months whilst Reece Proffitt, 24 of Round Road in Erdington, has been handed a six-year sentence for drugs offences and burglary – with footage found by police on his phone showing one of the cash-points on a reconnaissance visit.

Reece Proffitt. Photo: West Midlands Police

Lee, Proffitt and Jones all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, whilst Farquharson pleaded guilty to theft and raiding the Birchfield Road Post office.

Proffitt and Lee were also convicted of conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs following evidence being obtained on two mobile phones seized from Reece Proffitt that detailed the pairs involvement in dealing.

Lee played a leading role in the supply and was paid more than £25,000 into his bank account in a year by his customers. Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings are now under way to claw back criminal cash from the gang, police say.

Dc Max Gebhard, from West Midlands Police, said: "This gang caused thousands of pounds of damage and major disruption for businesses around Birmingham, with no regard for the safety of anyone around at the time.

"They were willing to use violence when confronted by officers, and thankfully they’re now behind bars for a considerable amount of time."

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