Two men who used explosives to steal nearly £50K from ATMs jailed

Two men who used explosives to steal money from ATMs across Essex and London have been jailed

Two men who used explosives to steal money from ATMs across Essex and London have been jailed - Credit: Essex Police

Two men who used explosives to steal nearly £50,000 from eight cash machines in Essex and London have been jailed for a total of almost 30 years. 

James Whitlock, from Walton-on-the-Naze, and Anthony Crowley, of no fixed address, stole nearly £50,000 and cause £15,000 of damage as they used gas, fuel and even a petrol bomb to blow up ATMs and steal the cash inside. 

The pair attacked locations in Clacton, Brentwood, Wickford, West Hanningfield, Plaistow, Woodford Green, Cold Harbour and Brixton between November 27, 2019 and January 14, 2020.

 

Two men who used explosives to steal money from ATMs across Essex and London have been jailed 

Two men who used explosives to steal money from ATMs across Essex and London have been jailed. Left: Anthony Crowley. Right: James Whitlock. - Credit: Essex Police

Through a combination of forensics, tracking phone signals, and information from automatic number plate recognition cameras, detectives were able to link them to, or place them at, the scenes of the offences. 

Warrants at address in Wickford, Walton-on-the-Naze, and Hornchurch and searches of vehicles also found items which could link the men to the offences.

The aftermath of an explosion of an ATM in Stock Road, West Hanningfield

The aftermath of an explosion of an ATM in Stock Road, West Hanningfield - Credit: Essex Police

The pair were then arrested on 16 January 2020.

Crowley, 37, was later charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of a Class A drug, and handling stolen goods.

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Whitlock, 36, of Alfred Terrace, was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, handling stolen goods, and failing to comply with a serious crime prevention order.

They admitted the charges. At Basildon Crown Court on Monday, January 17 Crowley was jailed for 14 and-a-half years in jail, while Whitlock was sentenced to 15 years.

A damaged ATM following an incident in Ongar Road, Brentwood

A damaged ATM following an incident in Ongar Road, Brentwood - Credit: Essex Police

Temporary detective superintendent Lee Morton, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Anthony Crowley and James Whitlock when to extreme lengths to steal from money from cash machines.

“The methods they used posed a serious risk to the welfare of people living and working near to the ATMs they targeted and it was fortunate no-one was injured.

Anthony Crowley caught on CCTV during an incident in Market Road, Wickford

Anthony Crowley caught on CCTV during an incident in Market Road, Wickford - Credit: Essex Police

“They stole tens of thousands of pounds and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“Their actions, driven by greed and their own financial gain, were reckless — even throwing a petrol bomb at one cash machine they had failed to get into.

Damaged ATM following an incident in Plaistow Road, Upton

Damaged ATM following an incident in Plaistow Road, Upton - Credit: Essex Police

“We carried out an exhaustive investigation which carefully pieced together evidence from various sources to build this case and I’m pleased we have been able to bring these men to justice.

“They will now face a significant amount of time behind bars as a result.”