Ram raiders stole cash machine with £80k inside… but it had a secret tracker

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A gang of ram raiders who escaped with a supermarket cash machine containing more than £80,000 have been jailed for more than 20 years.

Five masked men used a 4×4 vehicle to wrench a cash machine from the shopfront of a Co-op store in Treharris, Merthyr Tydfil, in the early hours of May 14 before fleeing to a property in Abergavenny.

But they were unaware the cashpoint was fitted with a secret tracking device which led police to their hideaway.

The money was being “divvied up” when officers swooped to arrest the gang – Gavin Jordan, John Hearne, Gareth James, Tony Smith and Mark Hayter – and seize a bin bag packed with £20 and £10 notes.

Four of the five men pleaded guilty to burglary but Hayter, 32, denied being involved in the raid. He was later found guilty of burglary and handling stolen goods by a majority verdict. The five men were jailed on November 8.



Gavin Jordan, 38, of Nantyglo



John Hearne, 24, of Stourport-on-Seven



Gareth James, 37, of Ebbw Vale

 

A jury at Merthyr Crown Court was shown dramatic video of the gang reversing a 4X4 vehicle into the Co-op store.

Prosecutor Alex Greenwood said: “The peace of Treharris village was interrupted by an audacious criminal enterprise.

“It was a highly-organised burglary to remove the ATM from the Co-op store.

“A masked criminal gang reversed a Mitsubishi pick-up into the front of the shop.

“Straps were attached to the machine and the pick-up drove off dragging it down the street with sparks flying off it.

The ATM was transferred into a white transit van and driven to Llanellen Court Farm, Abergavenny, where it was hidden in a wooden shed.

“The ATM had been filled that day and contained £80,150.

“But unbeknown to the burglars the cash machine was fitted with a tracking device and police were on their way to the farm.”



Tony Smith, 25, of Nantyglo



Mark Hayter, 32, of Ebbw Vale

 

Officers from South Wales and Gwent Police carried out the raid along with a helicopter and dog handler.

Three of the gang ran off but were caught hiding in a hedge. Two others were arrested at the scene.

Police found five pairs of black gloves and a balaclava in the glove compartment of a vehicle at the farm and four more black balaclavas were found at Hayter’s home.

Glass particles found on the balaclavas matched shattered glass from the shopfront of the Co-op.

Mr Greenwood told the jury: “Five men were involved, four pleaded guilty. The prosecution said the fifth man is Mark Hayter.

“He was present the following morning accessing the machine in order to divvy up the proceeds of the previous night’s burglary.”

Hayter claimed he wasn’t involved in the ram raid and had no knowledge of the money or how it was being split.

He denied burglary and handling stolen goods but was found guilty by a majority verdict of 10-2.

Judge Daniel Williams jailed the men for a total of 20 years and eight months on November 8, saying each gang member had played their part in a highly-organised crime.

Hayter, of Ebbw Vale, was jailed for four years while John Hearne, 24, of Stourport-on-Seven and Gavin Jordan, 38, of Nantyglo, were both locked up for five years.

Gareth James, 37, of Ebbw Vale, and Tony Smith, 25, of Nantyglo, were jailed for three years and four months.



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