Crime Group Jailed For 27 Years For UK-Wide Robbery Series
Three men have been sentenced to a total of 27 years in prison for committing robberies across England and Wales that targeted security guards carrying cash.
The group, who are from Merseyside and Cheshire, all pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to rob on 30 July on the first day of a trial at Worcester Crown Court.
An investigation into the organised crime group was launched by West Mercia Police following the robbery of a cash box by three men from a security guard visiting the Leominster branch of Morrisons supermarket on 21 June, 2010.
Detectives linked this to another similar robbery in Worcester that took place a few weeks earlier, on 13 May, at the One Stop Shop in Brickfields Road. Three men were involved when one of them shoulder-barged a security guard on a visit to the store and his cash box was snatched.
Inquiries led officers to link these crimes with three other incidents that had taken place in the preceding months:
On 19 February 2010, a stolen seven-tonne, flatbed lorry was used to breach a wall of a cash depot on the Queensway Meadows Industrial Estate and they stole a large number of coins from inside.
On the evening of 8 March 2010, a stolen Ford Focus was driven through the glass doors of the Halifax branch in Chippenham to gain access to the front area of the building and three men got out and stole cash being delivered for loading into a cash machine.
On 10 June 2010, at the Blackhorse Esso garage in Downend, Bristol, a cash box was snatched by man from a security guard attempting to replenish an ATM outside the premises.
All three men pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to rob between January and June 2010. At Worcester Crown Court today, Judge John Cavell sentenced them to the following:
- Christopher Scully, aged 44, of Charlton Close, Palacefields, Runcorn, was sentenced to nine and a half years imprisonment.
- Wesley Owens, aged 32, of Balfour Street, St Helens, was sentenced to nine years imprisonment.
- Kevin McLoughlin, aged 32, of Westdale Road, Liverpool, was sentenced to eight and a half years imprisonment.
Detective Inspector Carl Moore from West Mercia Police's Serious And Organised Crime Unit, said: "Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology played a central role in our investigation. We identified the vehicles used by the offenders to travel to and from the Leominster robbery and, by using ANPR data from across the country, we were able to track these vehicles' movements, which led us to the other offences.
"We liaised with our colleagues at Gwent, Wiltshire and Avon & Somerset police forces to put together our evidence, which included DNA evidence from the scene at Leominster.
"In July 2010, we executed warrants in Liverpool and arrested Scully, Owens and McLoughlin, who were charged soon after and put before the courts.
"This was a group of professional, lifestyle criminals committing offences on generally peaceful areas such as Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Wiltshire.
"I believe they thought we were a soft target, but I want organised crime groups to know they cannot come onto provincial areas like West Mercia without fear of being caught. I am pleased the court has reinforced this with these significant sentences.
"We pursued Scully, Owens and McLoughlin across the country and were tireless in getting this conviction; I would also like to thank our colleagues at the Crown Prosecution Service for their hard work and commitment."
Issued: Tuesday 21 August 2012