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Three years for Bexley man who used explosive gas to rob dozens of cash machines and steal £300,000

PUBLISHED: 09:36 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:47 20 March 2017

Glenn Friend

Glenn Friend

Archant

Glenn Friend, 26, of Barnfield Road, was one of four men in the gang found guilty of burglary

A Bexley man has been sentenced to three years in prison for the part he played in breaking open over a dozen cash machines with explosive gas and stealing over £300,000.

On March 17, the four men received over 14 years imprisonment.

Glenn Friend, 26, of Barnfield Road, Belvedere, Bexley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit non-residential burglary.

James Whitlock, 32, of Stapleford Close, Chelmsford, Essex, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit non-residential burglary and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years.

Sonny Hagland, 26, of Carnforth House, Harold Hill, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit non-residential burglar and was sentenced to five years.

And Callum Brown, 26, of High Street, Hornchurch, pleaded guilty to non-residential burglary and was sentenced to 20 months.

The offences took place between December 2015, and July 2016 across north, east and south London.

The gang targeted establishments such as restaurants and convenience stores which had ATM machines on their premises.

Operating in the middle of the night, they broke into the rear of the premises, before using oxygen-acetylene gas cutters to break open the cash machine from inside the building.

On one occasion they set fire to the machine, and over £40,000 of banknotes were destroyed.

In addition, they broke into at least four residential properties to steal high-value vehicles, which they would fit with false number plates and use to get to and from crime scenes. On one occasion, they were confronted by a witness, who was chased away by members of the gang brandishing sticks.

DNA from tools left at the scene of one of the offences, as well as two of the vehicles used by the gang, was used to link the offences to the gang.

The gang’s final offence took place in Birmingham on July 30, where they unsuccessfully attempted to break into an ATM situated inside a pizza restaurant. The gang were arrested a short time later on the M6.

DC Lewis Sanderson from the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “These men have showed a callous disregard for the safety of others. It is sheer good fortune that no-one was injured - or worse - as a result of their actions.

“They caused significant damage to a number of small businesses who housed the ATMs on their premises, causing great inconvenience to the local community and huge cost and distress to the business owners themselves.

“I am pleased that today they have been jailed for a significant period of time, reflecting the seriousness of the offences.”

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