Ten years for fourth man responsible for ATM explosions
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A man has been jailed today (Friday 13 March) for the role he played in a string of ATM attacks across Leicestershire and neighbouring counties in 2017.
Tom Connors, 41, of no fixed address, fled the country following the spate of attacks and the arrest of the others responsible in November 2017 and January 2018.
He appeared at Leicester Crown Court today (Friday) where he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
He was arrested at Belfast Airport in January this year and was arrested on suspicion of eight counts of burglary.
He was subsequently charged with eight counts of burglary and three counts of unlawfully and maliciously causing an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property.
He pleaded guilty to the burglary offences at Leicester Magistrates’ Court in January this year, and entered guilty pleas for the explosion counts earlier this week.
The charges relate to a number of attacks on ATM machines at businesses across Leicestershire and neighbouring counties in October and November 2017.
On all occasion, the men used gas canisters to blow up the machines, allowing them to get to the cash inside.
Victoria Stather, an investigator with East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “Connors, along with the three others, caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to stores across the region. He took a very blasé attitude to his own, and the public’s safety.
“Using volatile gas mixtures, they caused a number of explosions which could have had devastating consequences.
“The devastation in the community was great, with often small, rural communities targeted, which caused a great deal of fear and discord in the close-knit communities.”
When addressing the defendant in court, the judge, His Honour Judge Spencer said that the offending was “highly organised and serious, and you and those with you were using gasses which were ignited, causing explosions, with obvious devastation” and that the acts were “brazen, organised and determined”.
He added that Connors had “made determined attempts to abscond and evade justice, fleeing the country – an aggravating feature”.
The charges relate to the below incidents in 2017:
- Burglary at Kate’s Cabin, Great North Road, Chesterton, Cambridgeshire, on 28 October.
- Burglary at Post Office, George Street, Lutterworth, on 28 October.
- Burglary at Shell Petrol Station, Brook Street, Tring, Hertfordshire, on 8 November.
- Burglary at Co-Operative store, in Rockfield Road, Monmouth, Wales, on 8 November.
- Burglary at Co-Operative store in Bignal Court, Kettering, Northamptonshire on 21 November.
- Theft of motor vehicle in Nuneaton, Warkwickshire, between 20 November and 23 November.
- Burgle and unlawfully and maliciously cause an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property at Co-operative store in Cosby, Leicestershire, on 21 November.
- Burgle and unlawfully and maliciously cause an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property at Tesco Express, London Road in Hinckley, Leicestershire, on 22 November.
- Burgle and unlawfully and maliciously cause an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property at Co-operative store in Burwell, Cambridgeshire, on 22 November.
Connors also had eight other burglary offences taken into consideration:
Spar, High Street, Raunds, Northamptonshire on 24 October; Co-Op, Oundle Northants on 24 October; Co-Op Oakham on 30 October; Tesco, High Street, Weedon, Northamptonshire on 1 November; Co-Op, High Street, Hillmorton on 1 November; Co-Op Lydney, Gloucestershire on 10 November; Texaco Garage, Huntley, Gloucestershire on 10 November; Tesco Express, Needingworth Road, St Ives on 13 November.