Three men jailed for series of cash machine thefts, including one in Bromley
PUBLISHED: 14:00 20 April 2018
Three men responsible for a series of cash machine gas explosions in seven different locations, including one in Bromley, have been jailed for a combined total of 53 years.
Joel Spears, 31, from Wimbledon, and Ermias Fekade, 36 from Sussex, were both found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions and steal after a six-week trial at Croydon Crown Court.
The pair were sentenced on Wednesday, April 18, along with Stephen Fahri, 36 from Sussex, who had previously pleaded guilty to the same offence.
Spears was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, Fekade was sentenced to 16 years and Fahri was sentenced to 17 years.
The men were caught as the result of an investigation by the Met’s Flying Squad into a linked series of cash machine thefts between January 2017 and April 2017.
One theft occured at Esso, Bromley Road on February 2 2017, at a standalone ATM where £23,000 was stolen.
The explosions caused by the gang were uncontrolled and caused a considerable amount of damage to nearby buildings including post offices and petrol stations.
The total amount stolen was £148,250 and the value of damage caused and repair costs as a result of the explosions was £150,466.97.
The equipment used to commit the offences was stored in a falsely registered Ford Mondeo estate parked up in the village of Poynings, Sussex.
Inside the vehicle, gas cylinders, electrical wire and a sledgehammer were found.
The gang also used high-powered stolen vehicles with stolen number plates and wore balaclavas to conceal their identities.
Detectives linked the gang to the offences through CCTV, mobile phone records and forensic evidence.
All three were arrested on April 20 after an attempt to explode a cash machine inside a Post Office in Tunbridge Wells.
Det Ch Insp Nick Blackburn, of the Met’s Flying Squad said: “The lengthy sentences handed out by the judge today reflect the high-risk nature of the offending.
“These defendants caused extensive damage to the cash machines but also the surrounding buildings which included residential premises.
“The Flying Squad has once again made it clear that we will relentlessly pursue those with the audacity to conduct such criminality.”