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Gang who went on £1m ATM and burglary spree jailed for combined 55 years – Harwich and Manningtree Standard

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EIGHT men have been sentenced to a total of 55 years in jail after going on a year-long crime spree across the east of England.

The group were responsible for a number of cash machine thefts, burglaries and car theft.

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Walter Mitchell Junior, Shane Stanley, Walter Mitchell Senior, Levi Mitchell, William Mitchell, Sid Clark, Jack Mitchell and Ross Whitford were all sent down at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday.

Mitchell Junior was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit theft and conspiracy to handle stolen goods. The other eight men previously admitted conspiracy offences at an earlier date.

In April 2018, the Essex Police Serious Crime Directorate launched an investigation into a series of cross border commercial and dwelling burglaries, car thefts and ATM thefts.

The offences spanned a number of counties including Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Cambridgeshire, Thames Valley and London between March 24, 2018 and March 5, 2019.

The ATM offences took place between February and August 2018 in Broxbourne, Corringham, West Kingsdown, South Ockendon, Rainham in London, Gravesend, Epsom, Hutton, Loughton, Pilgrims Hatch and Redbourn. They have admitted nine of these.

Following the offences, officers focused on the activities of a family living at Fern Hill caravan site, in Harlow, and their associates.

Officers then raided properties in Harlow, Brentwood and Stansted Abbots on March 5.

During these raids, eight men were arrested with two more questioned over coming weeks.

They were quickly charged and continued to remain on remand in prison ahead of sentence.

Superintendent Andy Waldie, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “These men were highly organised and dangerous, we believed they would put our officers and members of the public at risk of harm and violence in their attempts to escape.

“They were able to get away from scenes quickly, leaving very little forensic opportunities before destroying the stolen vehicles they used.

“Even when the whole ATMs were stolen, sometimes they were able to get away from scenes in under a minute.

“We estimate that theft and damage costing more than a £1million was caused by this group of men over a period of a year.

“The case file involved over 100 investigations including 35 commercial burglaries and burglaries across 14 towns and villages in the eastern region.

“A 500-page timeline and presentation was compiled and presented to the Crown Prosecution Service as evidence.

“Despite the challenges posed by this organised crime group across the region, we worked around the clock to collate an overwhelming amount of evidence against the Mitchells, Clark, Stanley and Whitford, who have since been jailed for a total of 55 years.”

Marc Terry, International Managing Director for Cardtronics, said: “Let these sentences be a warning for anyone out there contemplating an attack on our Secure ATMs.

“These results show that our Secure ATM initiative is exceptionally effective in helping the police track down, catch and send to jail those who attempt to attack Cardtronics machines.

“Congratulations and our thanks go to the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate for its excellent work in helping us to protect access to cash for local and rural communities, who rely on ATMs for basic banking services.

“Our work does not stop here – we are fighting to protect access to cash across the whole of the UK and will not rest until ATM crime is eradicated and ceases to be a threat to communities and their residents.

“Those considering an attack should think again, as they will be caught and sent to jail for a very long time.”

Scott McManus, 43, of Chapelfields, Stanstead Abbots, was found not guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary on Tuesday 17 September.

  •  Walter Mitchell Junior, 22, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow. Eight years in jail for conspiracy to commit burglaries, conspiracy to handle stolen goods and conspiracy to commit theft of motor vehicles;
  • Shane Stanley, 37, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow. Nine years in jail for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries and conspiracy to handle stolen goods;
  • Walter Mitchell Senior, 42, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow. Nine years in jail for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries and conspiracy to handle stolen goods;
  • Levi Mitchell, 35, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow. Seven years in jail for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries;
  • William Mitchell, 30, of Fern Hill Lane, Harlow. Seven years in jail for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries;
  • Sid Clark, 32, of Broadfield Harlow. Four year years in jail for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries;
  • Ross Whitford, 24, of Rock Lane, Hastings. Four years in jail for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries;
  • Jack Mitchell, 20, of Kingsmoor Road, Harlow. Seven years in jail for conspiracy to commit commercial burglaries.

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