Essex/London: Two jailed over explosive ATM theft attempts
Main article content
Work by specialist detectives has ensured two men have been jailed for a total of almost 30 years for using explosives to steal and try to steal cash machines in Essex and London.
Between 27 November 2019 and 14 January 2020, Anthony Crowley (left) and James Whitlock (right) targeted eight cash machines.
They used gas, fuel and, in one case, resorted to throwing a petrol bomb, to steal ATMs from locations in Brentwood, Wickford, Clacton and West Hanningfield in Essex and Plaistow, Woodford Green, Cold Harbour and Brixton in London.
In total they stole nearly £50,000 and caused around £15,000 in damage.
Detectives carried out a thorough investigation and through a combination of forensics, phone work, and information from automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, were able to link the trio to, or place them at, the scenes of the offences.
Explosion and aftermath of an attempt in Stock Road, West Hanningfield
Warrants at address in Wickford, Walton-on-the-Naze and Hornchurch and searches of vehicles also resulted in items which could link the men to the offences being found.
They were arrested on 16 January 2020.
Crowley, 37, of no fixed address, was later charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of a Class A drug and handling stolen goods.
Whitlock, 36, of Alfred Terrace, Walton-on-the-Naze, was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, handling stolen goods and failing to comply with a serious crime prevention order.
They admitted the charges and, at Basildon Crown Court on Monday 17 January, Crowley was jailed for 14 and-a-half years and Whitlock was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
A damaged ATM following an incident in Ongar Road, Brentwood
Temporary Detective Superintendent Lee Morton, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said:
“Anthony Crowley and James Whitlock went to extreme lengths to steal money from cash machines.
“The methods they used posed a serious risk to the welfare of people living and working near the ATMs they targeted and it was fortunate no-one was injured.
“They stole tens of thousands of pounds and caused thousands of pounds of damage.
“Their actions, driven by greed and their own financial gain, were reckless, even throwing a petrol bomb at one cash machine they had failed to get into.
“We carried out an exhaustive investigation which carefully pieced together evidence from various sources to build this case and I’m pleased we have been able to bring these men to justice.
“They will now face a significant amount of time behind bars as a result.”
Anthony Crowley caught on CCTV during an incident in Market Road, Wickford
Damaged ATM following an incident in Plaistow Road, Upton