A PRESCOT man who was part of a "violent" gang which carried out smash-and-grab burglaries at ATM machines and assaulted an innocent bystander who was left needing stitches has been jailed.

Stephen Roberts, 38, of Wilson Road, Prescot was sentenced to five years and five months for conspiracy to commit burglary.

The burglaries took place between January 7 and July 11, 2017 at commercial premises across the Liverpool, Wirral and Cheshire areas.

In each case the gang targeted commercial businesses including post offices, convenience stores and service stations that contain an ATM in the early hours of the morning.

The gang arrived at the scenes in high powered vehicles, often Audi or Mercedes cars on cloned number plates.

They then forced entry into the premises and attacked the ATM in order to steal the cash contained inside.

The gang also rented an industrial premises in Birkenhead where they stored equipment, stolen cars and weapons.

In total the gang pleaded to seven offences and were sentenced on Monday (February 5) at Liverpool Crown Court.

St Helens Star:

The gang attacking an ATM at an Aldi store

Other gang members who were jailed were:

David O'Brien, 35, of Fincham Close, Huyton, who was sentenced to five years and five months for conspiracy to commit burglary.

Les McStein, 34, of Oxford Road, Egremont, was sentenced to six years for conspiracy to commit burglary.

Craig Dobbins, 36, of Airdale Close, Beechwood, was sentenced three years and six months for conspiracy to commit burglary.

Craig Brennan, 33, of Farmfield Drive, Beechwood, Wirral, was sentenced to 10 months for attempted burglary of a commercial premises.

And John Huntington, 21, of Ganneys Meadow Road, Woodchurch, Wirral, was given a two year suspended sentence and 175 hours community order for conspiracy to commit burglary.

Welcoming the sentences, Detective Inspector Mike Dalton said: “I am delighted that we have managed to put this gang behind bars for a number of serious offences.

“These are not victimless crimes. These individuals have, when confronted by police officers or members of the public, used violence to ensure they were not detained.

“They have pre-armed themselves with bricks and when confronted by police officers thrown them at police vehicles to facilitate their escape.

“On one occasion they assaulted a member of the public who was simply passing by. The victim received ten stitches to a laceration to his hand caused by a knife and also a broken nose.

“Thankfully they are now behind bars where they belong.”

St Helens Star:

The lock-out in Birkenhead

The smash-and-grab burglaries took place at:

McNaughton Newsagents, Woolton Road, Childwall on January 7; the Post Office, Grove Road, Wallasey on April 8; the Post Office, Teehey Lane, Bebington on April 15; Premier News, Village Road, Heswall on May 24; an Aldi in Neston, Cheshire on June 17; a Post Office on St Paul’s Road, Seacombe on July 6 and an Aldi on Port Causeway, Bebington on July 11.