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Footage shows officers catching ATM raiders after cash machine ripped from wall

UK News | Published:

Five men who formed part of an organised criminal network have now been jailed for a combined total of over 22 years.

Dramatic bodycam video shows officers pinning a man on the floor as police smashed a crime ring involved in raiding cash machines across the South East.

The driver was hauled out of his vehicle and restrained while officers discovered an ATM stashed in the back of the specially adapted van.

Five men who formed part of an organised criminal network have now been jailed for a combined total of over 22 years, Kent Police said.

Detective Inspector James Derham praised his officers’ “sheer tenacity” in bringing down the crime group.

Ringleader Adrian Gowers, 55, Phillip Barnard, 25, David Eves, 48, John Lee, 49, and Billy John Lee, 28, all appeared at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday for sentencing.

Police say the band of criminals caused £704,691 in damage to businesses – in one instance using a stolen digger to rip an ATM out of a brick wall.

Adrian Gowers
Adrian Gowers was the gang’s ringleader (Kent Police/PA)

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They also stole vehicles and tools worth £32,185.

Gowers, 55, of Derwent Way, Gillingham, was sentenced to seven years and two months imprisonment.

He had previously admitted being involved in five incidents reported across Kent and Essex between February and July 2019.

In footage released by Kent Police, officers can be seen pursuing a silver van along a road on July 22 2019.

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The van was disguised with stolen number plates and was being used as a getaway vehicle after a raid on a building in Brentwood Road in Essex.

The ATM machine in the back of a van
The ATM machine in the back of a van (Kent Police/PA)

A stolen digger had been used to pull an ATM from the side of a building in the early hours of the morning, causing devastating damage.

The van is pulled over and one officer wrenches open the driver’s side door, holding up a police baton that appears to have been used to smash the window.

The driver, wearing a red shirt and black jumper, is hauled out of the van and restrained on the ground.

Video taken of the back of the van shows how the roof had been gouged open to allow for a cash machine to be dropped into it quickly.

Officers find a heavily-scarred ATM in the van, still trailing heavy black chains, and recover £100,000 in cash.

Barnard, of High Street, Chelmsford, Eves, of Larch Road, Dartford, John Lee, of New Waverley Road, Basildon, and Billy John Lee, also of New Waverley Road, Basildon, each admitted conspiring to steal cash machines.

Phillip Barnard
Phillip Barnard has been jailed (Kent Police/PA)

Barnard was jailed for three years and seven months and John Lee for five years and nine months.

Eves was imprisoned for two years and three months and Billy Lee was jailed for three years and seven months.

Detective Inspector James Derham of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “These men had absolutely no regard for the damage their crimes had on the communities they targeted.

“They put the public in danger with their reckless actions, crippled businesses, caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage and stole plant machinery which prevented businesses from moving forward with building works.

“In short, their selfish actions had severe consequences for many people including the local communities who relied upon these facilities.

“The officers involved in the case worked with sheer tenacity to painstakingly piece together the movements of those involved and other key evidence, leaving these men with no other option but to admit their part in the conspiracy.”

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