One of the topics of conversation around the recent reassurance visit to Aylsham police station by local councillors centred on the previous ATM theft from the HSBC bank in Reepham in 2012. “Of course, they got away with it last time, didn’t they?”
Actually, no they didn’t, pointed out PC Rob Devlin, Community Engagement Officer, Broadland District, Norfolk Constabulary.
The following information is from the Easton Region Serious Operations Unit dated 2015.
Ram raid gang found guilty
Five men have been jailed for a total of 22 years for their involvement in a series of ATM ram raids across the region in 2012.
Joseph Upton, John Smith, Albert Smith, Christopher Smith and Alfred Stanley carried out smash-and-grab raids at 12 banks and businesses and six burglaries during a nine-month crime spree.
They used JCB vehicles to smash into businesses before ripping out cash machines, used cutting equipment to help themselves to more cash and escaped in vehicles they had plundered in burglaries across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincolnshire.
In total they got away with £301,560 from cash machines and stole cars and jewellery worth more than £100,000.
They were caught following a lengthy investigation launched in August 2012 by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).
By September 2012 the covert surveillance operation was under way and teams from ERSOU were employed following the members of this organised crime group.
The group would target homes in order to steal vehicles for use in the ATM offences. They would disguise the vehicles by obtaining false number plates and then effectively hide them in plain sight for later use.
As a result of the surveillance operation, ERSOU was able to evidence the preparatory work of the group from the stealing of vehicles and the collection of false number plates through to the commission of a robbery.
On 16 October 2012 a “trap” Ford Ranger was stolen from a car park in Cambridge. This vehicle was transported back to the area of the Potton traveller site near to the address of Albert Smith and then later taken to a traveller site in Cambridgeshire where Joseph Upton lived.
The same day, the group was responsible for disguising a stolen Audi which was then moved from St Neots to Upwell and was subsequently used during a violent robbery at an isolated farmhouse in Bedfordshire five days later. Four of the gang (all except Christopher Smith) were each jailed for 10 years for that offence.
ERSOU then continued building a case against the five for their roles in the ATM burglaries.
Joseph Upton, 43, of Murrow Lane, Parsons Drove, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire; John Smith, 39, of Small Lode, Upwell, Cambridgeshire; Albert Smith, 38, of Common Road, Potton, Bedfordshire; and Alfred Stanley, 37, of Sandon Close, Sandy, Bedfordshire, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal motor vehicles between January and October 2012 at Cambridge Crown Court on Friday 27 February 2015.
John Christopher Smith, 23, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle.
They were sentenced as follows at Cambridge Crown Court: Joseph Upton jailed for five years; John Leonard Smith four years and nine months; Alfred Stanley Smith sentenced to four years; Albert Smith four years and nine months; John Christopher Smith jailed for three-and-a-half years. The sentences will run consecutively to the other jail terms.
See our earlier stories:
- A night to remember as Norfolk crime wave hits Reepham
- Reepham targeted again as another cash machine stolen in ram raid