Jail for £700k ATM gang with circular saws

ATM thieves at workCCTV

A gang, which had been targeting supermarket ATMs with circular saws - and made off with almost £700,000, has been jailed.

So what were they up to, and are they the most shocking ATM thieves of recent years?
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The raids

The gang of four men, from the Midlands, carried out their crime spree between September 2010 and November 2011. In a shocking number of raids, they knocked off supermarkets and private homes, stealing £684,210 in notes - along with £250,000 of high-powered performance cars, which they used in a series of very fast getaways.

The cars were targeted, after the owners advertised them for sale privately. The gang would pretend to be interested in the car, find out their address, and then steal the vehicle.
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The ATM raids were successful because they were armed with high-powered circular saws, which were designed for cutting through railways lines - so had no trouble carving through ATMs. They were also willing to take extreme risks in 150mph nighttime getaways. And they had a template, designed to guide the cutting equipment to the right part of the machine and counter the security devices fitted within it.

Caught

Noel Reilly, 33, of Birchills, West Midlands, and David Holmes, 31, of Walsall, West Midlands, admitted two charges of conspiring to commit commercial burglaries, and were jailed for seven years. Simon Phillips, 33, of Billesley, West Midlands, was jailed for five years and Darren Buckley, 35, of Acocks Green, Birmingham, for five years, seven months.

The gang were eventually caught when police saw four men acting suspiciously near a performance car in a lock up. They followed the vehicle to a garage, where forensics experts linked the car to the four men.

They were eventually tracked to a cottage in Taunton, Somerset, where two men were found with £86,000 plus a laptop - which had been used to carry out a search for 'cutting open ATM machines', and to look through websites of ATM manufacturers and car magazines.



Heroic failures

This was clearly one of the most prolific ATM gangs in the UK for some time. However, it is far from the only group of people who have taken ATMs on and failed.

Here are five of the most heroic failures:

1. In January this year a gang in Manchester dug an elaborate 100 foot tunnel underneath a cashpoint - including cutting through 15 inches of concrete. The work was though to have taken six months, and the thieves got away with £6,000.

2. In June a man in Florida tried to beat the system by withdrawing money from an ATM machine, and then calling police to report that money had been stolen from his account. It emerged later he was unaware that his withdrawal would be caught on the ATM's security camera.

3. Back in 2010, a crook in Boston made it halfway to success. He was found having broken into an ATM machine - at which point he got stuck. Police officers arrived to find the machine shaking, and when they opened it a teenager crawled out.

4. Then there was the criminal in Michigan who rigged up a camera in order to steal people's PINs, so he could take their card later and have everything he needed to empty their account. Sadly for him, the camera was found, and when officers watched it back they saw him turn the camera on with it pointing to his face before installing it.

5. You have to go back a few years for a story of real daring coupled with extreme stupidity - when a gang drove their truck through the glass front of a petrol station to access an ATM in Milwaukee. Sadly for the boys they didn't realise that the ATM was bolted to the floor. They tried to tie a rope around it and drag it off, but were forced to leave with nothing. The ATM was entirely unharmed.

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Jail for £700k ATM gang with circular saws

More than 46,000 of 106,000 the complaints received by the FOS in the second half of last year related to payment protection insurance (PPI). And the organisation is expecting to receive a record 165,000 PPI complaints in 2012/2013.

The huge numbers are due to the PPI mis-selling scandal that should now be a thing of the past, but there is no doubt that the insurance, which can add thousands to the cost of a loan, is highly unpopular!

(Pictured: Martin Lewis after the PPI payout ruling)

Complaints about mortgages jumped by 38% in the last six months of last year, the FOS figures show, compared to an increase of just 5% in investment-related complaints.

Common gripes about mortgages include the exit penalties imposed should you want to sell up or change you mortgage before a fixed or discounted deal comes to an end, and the high arrangement fees charged by many lenders.

While there is nothing in the data released by the FOS about the number of complaints relating to savings accounts, hard-pressed savers have been struggling with low interest rates for several years now.

You can get up to 3.10% with Santander's easy-access eSaver account, but many older accounts are paying 1.00% or less and even this market-leading offer includes a 12-month bonus of 2.60% - meaning that the rate will plummet to just 0.50% after the first year.

Banks are imposing the highest authorised overdraft interest rates since records began, with today's borrowers paying an average of 19.47%, according to the Bank of England.

A typical Briton with an overdraft of £1,000 is therefore forking out around £200 in interest charges alone. Coupled with meagre returns on savings, it's enough to make your blood boil!

While authorised overdrafts may seem expensive, going into the red without permission will cost you even more due to huge penalty fees.

Barclays, for example, charges £8 (up to a maximum of £40 a day) each time that there is not enough money in your account to cover a payment.

If you need to send money abroad, the likelihood is that your bank will impose transfer charges - and offer you a poor rate of exchange. Someone transferring a five-figure sum could easily lose out by £500 or more as a result.

The good news, however, is that you can often get a better deal by using a currency specialist such as Moneycorp.

Automated telephone banking systems, not to mention call centres in far-flung parts of the world, are one of our top gripes - especially as we often encounter them when we are already calling to report a problem.

In the words of one disgruntled customer: "What is it about telephone banking that turns me into Victor Meldrew? Well, maybe it's the fourteen security questions, maybe it's the range of products that they try to push or maybe it's because I'm forced to listen to jazz funk at full volume while my phone bill soars.

"Actually though, I think it's because the people I eventually speak to rarely seem able to solve the issue I'm calling about."

The days of a personal relationship with your bank manager are long gone - for the huge majority of us at least.

When ethical Triodos Bank investigated recently why around 9 million Britons would not recommend their banks to a friend or relative, it found that almost a third felt they were not treated as individuals. Another 40%, meanwhile, were simply disappointed with the customer service they received.

When you're in a rush, the last thing you want to do is wait in a long queue at your local branch.

Researchers at consumer champion Which? recently found that most people get seen within 12 minutes, but you could have a much longer wait if you go in at a busy time. Frustrating stuff!

The Triodos Bank research also indicated that the bonus culture that ensured the bank's high-flying employees received large salaries, even when it was making a loss at the taxpayer's expense, was hugely unpopular with consumers.

About a quarter of those who would not recommend their current banks said this was the main reason why. And with RBS executives sharing a £785 million bonus pool despite the bank, which is 82% publicly owned, making a loss of £2 billion last year, it's not hard to see why.

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