Gang jailed for ‘explosive’ raids on 27 cash machines
Police: Innocent bystanders lucky not to be injured in crime spree
A THREE-MAN gang who blew up cash machines in west London and the home counties have been jailed.
Jamie Duggan, Anthony Rodwell and Trevor Collins used “explosive gas” to rob 27 ATMs in a series of audacious offences between July 2014 and April 2015.
Police say it was lucky no innocent bystanders were hurt in the blasts, which were primarily in banks and post offices.
During their ninemonth crime spree, eight incidents took place in Hounslow, eight in Ealing and four in Hillingdon.
There were also three offences in Surrey and three in Thames Valley.
To gain entry to the ATMs, the trio pumped a combustible oxyacetylene gas into the cash machine and then ignited it from around 15 metres away with an electrical charge.
Both 26-year-old Duggan, from Philip Road in Staines, and Rodwell, 27, from Lauren Gardens in Ashford, Middlesex, were given 12-year sentences each for conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property.
Collins, 26, from Christophers Drive in Hayes, received a nineyear sentence for the same charges.
Duggan had admitted guilt in December 2015, while Rodwell and Collins entered guilty pleas last Thursday.
Detective Inspector Scott Hartley, of the Flying Squad, said: “Given that this series of crimes involved 27 offences, it is fortunate no unsuspecting members of the public were injured.
“In one case, the front fascia of the ATM and other debris was blown 30 to 40 metres from the scene.
“If this debris had struck a member of the public or a passing car, the resulting injuries could easily have been fatal.”
After exploding the cash machines, the gang would try to break in and attempt to steal cash from the back of the machine. They were only successful on eight occasions, when they pocketed around £356,300.
Damage caused to the buildings by the explosions totalled just more than £320,000.
Police say three venues were targeted within an hour on October 6 2014, and in all cases the vehicles being driven had stolen or cloned number plates.
Flying Squad officers were able to identify Duggan as a suspect after his DNA was found on the inside of the safe door of an ATM robbed in Greenford Road on November 18 2014, which was the 19th offence.
This incident was one of the gang’s unsuccessful attempts to access the cash inside the machine, and they made of with just £30.
Having identified Duggan, detectives were able to quickly identify his two associates as Rodwell and Collins.
Duggan was arrested on July 15 2015, Rodwell the following month on August 24 and Collins on September 9.
DI Hartley added: “It was sheer luck that nobody was killed due to the actions of this gang.
“They handled an extremely dangerous substance carelessly and with complete disregard for the safety of others.
“The level of threat they posed to community safety has been reflected in today’s verdicts.
“In addition to the danger the activities of this gang posed to the community, there was extensive damage to a number of small businesses who housed the ATMs as well as significant inconvenience caused to communities who, in many cases, rely on the use of the ATM itself or the facilities and services provided by the host businesses.”
MANGLED ATM: A destroyed cash machine in Hillingdon