Ben Thomas and Wesley Shepherd
CCTV footage captured the explosions.
Driving stolen cars, the men would enter premises armed and threaten staff, before placing an explosive device into the machine, in an attempt to gain access to cash.
Between April 2023 – July 2023, they attacked four commercial premises, three in Greater Manchester, and a final one in Staffordshire. In total, they stole almost £160,000, and caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the businesses.
After stealing the cash, they were spotted passing through Manchester Airport, jetting off to Malaga, Egypt, and Mexico.
Their short lived high soon came to an end on Tuesday 19 September when police caught up to them. After witnessing the men in a car together in Sale, armed police moved in to arrest them. Shepherd and Thompson ditched the car and ran to evade police, but they discarded a rucksack. When recovered, police found high visibility vests, gloves, a screwdriver, tape, and a smoke flare.
The duo were arrested shortly after, Thompson on the forecourt of a supermarket in Hulme, and Shepherds at his mum’s house in Northenden.
Today (Monday 29 January 2024), Ben Thompson (11/9/1987) of Kentworthy Lane, Wythenshawe has been jailed for 20 years, and Wesley Shepherd (11/12/1983) of Thirsk Avenue, Sale has been jailed for 18 years and eight months. They both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and cause explosion likely to endanger property and life at an earlier hearing.
Detective Sergeant Rich McCorry from GMP Serious Organised Crime Group said: “These men had no regard for the safety of the public in their endeavour to make some fast cash. This type of behaviour is intolerable and the lasting impact that such an unprovoked attack can have on a victim is huge.
“Following a diligent investigation with specialist colleagues from across Greater Manchester and Staffordshire Police, we were able to link the crimes and now two dangerous, reckless men are behind bars for a long time.”