Co-op praise police force after ATM attack gang sentenced to over 30 years
Central England Co-op has praised Leicestershire Police for a successful operation that has seen three men sentenced for over 30 years following a string of ATM attacks.
The Society was targeted by the gang on five separate occasions during 2017 at Food Stores in Lutterworth, Countesthorpe, Oakham, Kibworth and Oundle, Northamptonshire, as they used gas canisters to open the ATMs before using power tools to remove the cash.
These five incidents were part of 23 in total across Leicestershire and neighbouring counties which saw the gang steal over £1.5 million and cause over £800,000 worth of damage.
Following a court hearing last week, Charlie Smith, Alfie Adams and John Moran received sentences totalling over 30 years after they admitted eight counts of burglary, three counts of unlawfully and maliciously causing an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or cause serious damage to property, and one count of theft.
A spokesperson for Central England Co-op said: “The attacks on five ATMs at Central England Co-op Food Stores had a major impact on our customers and communities as these machines are often a lifeline for local people and the economy.
“We welcome the sentences and would like to place on record our thanks to Leicestershire Police who, working closely with our colleagues, conducted a painstaking and complex investigation to bring these people to justice.
“We hope this positive result deters others from committing similar crimes and showcases that we will do everything in our power to assist in bringing criminals to justice to ensure we protect our colleagues, members and customers.”
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Smalley led the investigation. He said: “These three men caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to stores across the region, taking a very blasé attitude to their own, and the public’s safety.
“These crimes were very visible in the community, and the impact felt by residents and business owners was significant. The reliance on these ATMs by such small rural communities was great, but the fear and discord caused by these attacks in what was often the heart of their village was much greater.
“With the culprits now in prison for a very long time, we hope a sense safety and security has been returned to our communities.”
Notes to editors
About Central England Co-operative
Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK.
It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, and property investment.
Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2018.
Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility. It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence. The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.
Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.
For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative
Rob Smyth / Heather Clapton at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140