Two men who used stolen diggers in a series of cash machine raids have been jailed. The duo left a trail of damage during three early-morning attacks.
In the first in the village of Holmes Chapel, near Knutsford, they escaped with £88,000. They struck at McColl’s convenience store on London Road on October 9 2019 at around 2.30am, using a JCB digger to remove the ATM at an adjoining Post Office.
Robert Lowe, 30, from Wessex Drive, Rudheath and Tristan Tighe, 22, from Dunham Road, Northwich, were both sentenced to five years each for conspiracy to steal.
The pair were found guilty of the offence following a week-long trial which concluded at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday 22 November.
The offences happened between 1 September 2019 and 10 January 2020.
The court heard how the pair targeted ATM machines using stolen diggers and other vehicles adapted to transport the stolen ATM machines.
Their rampage began on 9th October 2019 when they removed a cash machine at McColl’s, London Road, Holmes Chapel, and stole a large amount of cash.
The pair also conducted two failed attacks at cash machines outside the Tesco superstore on Chester Road, Helsby, on 2 September 2019, and Tesco Express, on Northwich Road, Weaverham, on 10 January 2020.
They left empty handed on both occasions but caused extensive damage to the stores.
The suspects were identified and arrested as part of a complex investigation conducted by DC Kusiar, DS Scott Graves, PC Matt Uren and Analyst Jennie Hull which included evidence obtained from forensics linking the men to the scenes, stolen diggers and several of the adapted vehicles.
Officers also recovered CCTV footage of Lowe walking away from an adapted transit van with a large hole cut in the roof which he dumped in Lower Whitley, near Northwich, on 10 January, following the failed attack in Weaverham.
Over the course of that month the two were arrested as the officers closed in on the gang with their extensive enquiries.
DC Jessica Kusiar from Eastern CID said: “A significant amount of cash was stolen and property was damaged by these men.
“The offenders used stolen vehicles in an attempt to conceal their activity, but officers worked tirelessly to uncover their crimes and bring them to justice, using telecoms, forensics and CCTV to link them to individual offences.”