A MEMBER of a gang of robbers who was the only one caught after an attempt to drag a cash machine from a shop failed has been jailed for three years.

Harry Meadows had been recruited to take part in the raid at the Co-Op store in West Kirkby and was arrested after the gang fled empty handed when the rope towing the cash machine snapped.

A steel saw was discovered in Meadow’s stolen car in nearby Upton where he was spotted by police.

Prosecutor Graham Pickavance said the 33-year-old claimed that he was on his way to visit his mother but when his hoodie was forensically examined more than 200 fragments of glass matching the shattered glass window at the shop was found.

Meadows, from Dursley in Whiston is profoundly deaf and sat in the witness box during proceedings so he could lip read.

Jailing him for three years Judge Denis Watson QC said: “This was a planned enterprise with the target being a very valuable prize, an ATM machine.”

Mr Pickavance described to the court how neighbours close to the shop were woken at around 3.30am last October by loud banging noises outside.

A note was made of the registration number of a vehicle.

The police were called and traced the vehicle. It was discovered that the gang had tried to drag the machine, which may have contained up to £20,000 out of the premises.

Michael Woods defending explained that Meadows, who has previous convictions, has never previously been in custody and found his time on remand difficult.

He said that he had been exploited by others and had not been involved in planning the raid. Mr Woods said that Meadows had thought he would just have been able to steal items from the shelves after they broke in.