Burglar ram-raided Co-op and stole ATM with £88,000 of cash inside

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A ram-raider stole £88,000 from a supermarket ATM after ramming the shop front with a telehandler he had stolen from a farm the day before.

Gareth James, 38, was one of four people who took part in the burglary at the Co-op store in Pontypool on April 1 last year, which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

A telehandler worth £8,500 was taken from Cwrt Arnold Farm in Penpergwm, Monmouthshire, on March 31, 2019, and was subsequently used in the Co-op burglary.

A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday heard 7ft metal security gates at the farm were rammed overnight by a car and a white telehandler was stolen. Green paint marks from a car were left at the scene.

The Co-op in Stanley Road, Garndiffaith, was locked at 10pm on March 31. Inside the store was an ATM, worth £6,500, which contained £88,000 in cash.

At around 2.30am CCTV recorded a white telehandler with the same registration as the stolen vehicle being rammed into the shop shutters, causing substantial damage.

Prosecutor Lowri Wynn-Morgan said four individuals were present at the time and a green Mitsubishi LT100 reversed up to the shop. A ratchet strap was attached to the ATM and the telehandler was used to lift the ATM into the LT100.

The four people got into the car and made off leaving the telehandler behind.

The telehandler was examined and the defendant’s DNA was found on the handbrake. Police also found the green Mitsubishi belonging to James which was found to have the same paint as that left at Cwrt Arnold Farm.

Around £80,000 worth of damage was caused to the Co-op store – £40,000 of which was recovered in insurance – and £4,500 worth of damage was caused to the telehandler.

James, of HMP Parc, later pleaded guilty to two counts of non-dwelling burglary. He is currently serving a sentence of six years and one month in relation to two similar ram-raiding burglaries, one of which targeted a Co-op store in Treharris.



Gareth James, 38, stole a telehandler and used it to ram raid a Co-op store in Pontypool

Defence barrister Christopher Rees said he was “surprised” it had taken so long for the case to reach the court and asked that the issue of totality was taken into account when sentencing.

In his sentencing comments Recorder Mark Cotter QC said: “You embarked upon what was an undoubtedly extremely well-planned and sophisticated criminal enterprise .

“These are serious offences. Plainly they were well-planned and plainly carried out as part of a group. You were on a spree of offending of this type.”

James was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment which will run consecutively with his current sentence.



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