A fifth man involved in the theft of more than £50,000 from ATM attacks in Warrington, Wakefield and Telford have been jailed.
Shaun Blackburn, of no fixed abode, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 28 August where he was sentenced to three years and six months in prison after admitting conspiracy to commit burglary.
The 37-year-old from Merseyside also received a further three years and three months in prison for a number of drugs offences in Liverpool – taking his total sentence to six years and nine months.
Blackburn is the fifth man to be sentenced in relation to the ATM attacks following the earlier sentencing of Mark Edwards, 47, Sean Devereux, 30, Peter O’Neill, 41, and Liam Doherty, 39, who were jailed for a total of more than 16 years when they appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday 27 February.
The men had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal.
The case against the gang began in the early hours of Thursday 3 October 2019 following a burglary at Nisa Local on Glover Road, Warrington.
During the incident thieves broke into the Locking Stumps store via the roof. Once inside they used an angle grinder to force open the ATM machine and stole almost £50,000.
Following the attack an investigation was launched by detectives at Warrington Beat Initiative Team, led by Detective Constable Ian Morris.
Over the following weeks the team spoke to various witnesses, examined hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and conducted forensic enquiries.
As a result the team gathered evidence linking the incidents to the gang.
In addition they also found evidence linking them to two other ATM attacks in Wakefield and Telford.
The incident in Wakefield took place at around 9pm on Tuesday 12 November at Premier Store in Havercroft. Once again, the group broke into the store via the roof and used and used an angle grinder to force open the ATM machine – stealing more than £5,000.
Just over a week later, on Thursday 21 November, the group targeted the One Stop Shop on Wellington Road in Telford.
On this occasion they forced entry via the roof and, after unsuccessfully attempting to open the cash machine, stole more than £14,000 worth of cigarettes.
After gathering all of the evidence against the men, officers from Cheshire Constabulary conducted raids in Merseyside on Wednesday 11 December leading to the arrests of Edwards, Devereux, O’Neill, and Doherty.
During the warrants officers conducted detailed searches of their addresses and recovered a number of items, including angle grinders, mobile phones, high value clothing, watches and more than £14,000 cash.
Sadly, Blackburn managed to evade officers initial arrest attempts and after realising that police were onto the gang he went on the run and was subsequently added to the police wanted list.
Despite his best efforts to evade justice, Blackburn was arrested in Merseyside on Friday 12 June after he was spotted by officers.
Following his sentencing Detective Constable Ian Morris, of Warrington Beat Initiative Team said: “Blackburn played a key part in this criminal enterprise and he went to great lengths to plan and coordinate attacks on cash machines with the intent of gaining significant amounts of cash.
“He, along with the rest of the gang, conducted a number of recces prior to conducting their attacks and travelled great distances in a failed attempt to evade justice.
“The businesses they targeted were recognised as providing important services to our local communities and the devastation of these incidents should not be underestimated.
“Not only did they cause thousands of pounds worth of damage, but they also had a profound impact on other businesses and residents within the local area.”
Detective Sergeant Ian Bingley added: “Blackburn’s sentencing brings to a close what has been an extremely complex investigation and I commend the diligence of DC Morris and PC Howard in pursuing all lines of enquiry to ensure that all those involved in this case have been brought to justice.
“Following the sentencing of Edwards, Devereux, O’Neil and Doherty, Blackburn may have thought that he had evaded justice, but as his sentencing shows, it doesn’t matter where you run or where you hide – we will relentlessly pursue you until you are captured.
“We are determined to disrupt all levels of serious organised crime within our communities and keep people safe.”