Video: Watch dramatic footage of ram raiders from Mildenhall ripping a cash machine from the foyer of the Student Union at UEA

CCTV footage of the ram raid at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

CCTV footage of the ram raid at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Picture: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

Police have released dramatic CCTV footage showing the moment a group of bungling burglars made off with thousands of pounds in after fixing a tow rope from their 4x4 to a cash dispenser at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich.

The cash dispenser flies several feet into the air as they hit the accelerator, blowing the front off the machine.

The whole incident was recorded by Norfolk police after a tip-off the three men were planning to strike.

John Eli Loveridge, 38, of Beck Row, Mildenhall, his son John Stanley Loveridge, 19, and 34-year-old Leonard Smith thought they had got away with the ram-raid at the University of East Anglia - until police caught up with the thieves, ramming one of the suspects’ getaway vehicles.

The men were jailed for a total of 14 years after they had been involved in a string of burglaries.

Detective Sergeant Richard Dickinson, from Norwich CID, said: “This was a challenging and lengthy investigation culminating in a successful covert operation which led to the arrest of the suspects.

“We carried out a number of complex lines of inquiry to show their involvement in other crimes and this work ultimately led to the suspects entering guilty pleas.

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“This was an organised gang who were prepared to burgle houses and steal cars in order to commit further crimes. It’s fortunate no one was injured when the gang carried out the raids as the technique used resulted in the cash machines flying through the air, as shown in the UEA CCTV, which could have easily hit an innocent member of the public.

“Hopefully these sentences will bring some comfort to the many distressed victims and witnesses in these crimes who have suffered at the hands of these dangerous men.”

In autumn 2013 detectives launched an operation targeting suspects after linking ram-raids at Weeting in September and Easton in October.

The inquiry also focused on a series of house burglaries across the region prior to the ram-raids being committed, during which the suspects stole high-powered vehicles.

On December 2 last year, a black Mercedes 4x4 approached the entrance of the Student Union and two of the defendants, Loveridge junior and Smith, dressed in white dust suits and balaclavas, went inside while Loveridge’s father waited outside with the 4x4.

A tow rope attached to the Mercedes was wrapped around the cash machine, allowing the suspects to rip the ATM from its base. The dispenser, which contained in excess of £10,000, flew about 6ft in the air and travelled about 20ft before crashing into a wall landing on the floor.

Police moved in to arrest the suspects who all made efforts to escape. Loveridge junior and Smith were detained following a short foot pursuit while the third suspect was arrested after a police car rammed the Mercedes as he tried to escape.

Loveridge, his son, of Greenways in Newton Flotman, and Smith, of Moat Way in Swavesey, all pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and were sentenced today at Norwich Crown Court.

The oldest man was sentenced to six years in prison, while his son and Smith each received a four year sentence.