THREE men convicted as part of a gang who blew up 13 cash machines have been jailed for a combined total of 52 years.
They appeared alongside four other men for sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court today, Thursday, April 20, after being convicted at an earlier hearing.
The gang escaped with hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Andrew White, 28, of Exeter Street, St Helens, was jailed for 21 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and being found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions.
His younger brother Anthony White, 26, of Kingswood, Huyton, who the CPS state has connections to St Helens, was jailed for 16 years after being found guilty of both offences.
Michael Galea, 41, of Gregson Road, Prescot, was jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of both offences.
Senior Crown prosecutor Maria Corr, of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service’s Complex Casework Unit, has worked on the case since the beginning.
She said: “These men were ruthless, organised criminals who conspired to cause explosions and burgle banks up and down the country.
“They thought nothing of using powerful explosives to blow up cash machines in residential areas, putting nearby residents in real danger. In fact, they targeted cash machines in quieter areas, because they thought it’d be less likely that they’d be detected.
“They stole high performance fast cars to order to use as getaway cars and drove from the scene of their crimes at terrifying speeds, again at great risk to the public, to avoid arrest.
“They used cloned number plates to avoid detection, one stolen car was found hidden in the back of a lorry and transported to commit a crime in Scotland , again to avoid detection.
“They wore black and covered their faces with ski masks and balaclavas so they couldn’t be identified from CCTV at the scene of the crimes.
“They used a huge number of mobile phones before, during and after the attacks, again to avoid detection.
“They were eventually tracked down by painstaking investigation involving detailed scrutiny of CCTV, DNA from items found in the abandoned getaway cars and interrogation of their mobile phones and satellite navigation tools, again found in the cars.
“These men, like most criminals, think they’re too clever to be caught. They’re wrong.
“They think they’ve thought of everything, but they haven’t. Criminals always eventually make mistakes and the Police and the Crown Prosecution service will catch up with them.
“Today’s sentences are a great result for the Crown Prosecution Service and for the forces of law and order in general.”