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?

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.

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.


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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