Gang caught after ripping out cash machines from shops and even a hospital

A gang caught on CCTV raiding shops, a train station and even a hospital to take cash machines have been ordered to pay back over £200,000.

They tied heavy-duty cargo straps around the machines and then yanked them away from walls using vehicles with fake number plates.

During the thefts, they wore masks to disguise their identities.

But they were caught out by detectives using forensics and phone analysis – as well as CCTV showing the ringleader doing reconnaissance on a future target while in normal clothes.

The gang carried out 11 raids across the West Midlands between March 2018 and January 2019.

They were jailed in autumn 2019 – but the case was back in court last week under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Gang members were told to pay back money they earned from the crimes to the cash machine operators within three months, or see their sentence increase.

It comes after five members of the gang were jailed for more than 31 years between them at Birmingham Crown Court after they admitted conspiracy to commit commercial burglary.

The new confiscation orders were secured last week against four of the five convicted.

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Ring leader Craig Matthews, 44, of Edgbaston, Birmingham, must pay almost £160,000 or his eight year and seven month sentence will be increased by a year and nine months.

Charlie Ward, 29, of Coventry, must pay £21,000 otherwise his five year sentence will increase by 12 months.

Shane Stajsavlijevic, 38, of Coventry, was told to pay just over £17,500 or his seven years and two months prison terms increases by 10 months.

Kenneth Bourne, 41, of Warwickshire, must pay £8,300 or his six year sentence increases by six months.

The court heard previously how the gang first used cutting equipment to break into a Spar supermarket in Tamworth, Staffordshire, before ripping out the cash machine.

They later cut bollards to get into Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park, where they dragged a cash machine from the Midlands Arts Centre.

Five days later, the gang destroyed the inside of a Post Office in Lichfield to drag the cash machine through it after taping over CCTV cameras.

They also entered Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital before loading an ATM onto a trolley and walking out, past members of the public.

And security guards had to dodge out of the way of their van after they were disturbed at a cash and carry in Birmingham.

Police used CCTV, forensics and phone analysis to bring the gang down, particularly once they were forced to abandon a getaway Transit van.

Fingerprints left on a trolley they had dumped at one crime scene also helped detectives identify the crooks.

Ringleader Craig Matthews, who has 19 previous convictions spanning 49 offences, left his DNA on a piece of tape used to cover cameras in Lichfield.

He was also forensically linked to a registration plate on one of the vans.

Police uncovered CCTV of him examining a cash machine while unsuspecting passengers went about their business at Rugby train station.

They were arrested at the beginning of 2019 and went on to admit conspiracy to commit commercial burglary.

Detective Chief Inspector Annie Miller said at the time: ‘This was sophisticated organised crime which showed a huge amount of planning.

‘While no one was hurt during the spree, the gang left a trail of destruction which left victims facing huge bills.

‘Thanks to great police work, we were able to build up a detailed picture of the gang, their vehicles, reconnaissance and movements.

‘We’re continuing to work with the cash machine industry to help increase security to reduce the risk of them being targeted by criminals in this way in the future.’

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