Rainhill Man among Guilty in Prescot Bank Raid

By on Friday, July 11, 2014

natwest_prescot_bank_robbery_photoA Rainhill man is among five men found guilty of a series of bank raids across the North West and the Midlands, including one in Prescot.

Ian Ellis, 30, of Warrington Road, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to cause an explosion.

The gang blew up a cash machine at the Prescot NatWest bank in Eccleston Street in the early hours of Thursday 12 September 2013.

Their spree involved other explosions and thefts of money from ATM machines at banks, post offices and supermarkets in Wirral, Lancashire, Cheshire, Southport, Liverpool, Loughborough, Gloucester, Birmingham, Northampton and Derby.

They used tactics previously heard of only in mainland Europe, and planned their attacks meticulously.

Disguised with balaclavas and dark clothing, they would grab the cash and escape at high speed in specially rigged vehicles.

Between February and December 2013, they pocketed an estimated £500,000 and caused up to £200,000 in damage.

Ellis and two other men avoided trial by pleading guilty, and a further two were tried and found guilty of the same offences. The others convicted were Thomas Whittingham, 28, of West Derby; Anthony Bushell, 29, of Old Swan; Craig Cartwright, 39, of Coventry; and Kurt Beddoes, 31, of Orrell Park.

Anthony White, 24, was acquitted, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on Gary Keating, 30. He will be re-tried at a later date.

The five convicted men will be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 5 September 2014.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Maria Corr thanked the police for a “complex and painstaking investigation,” saying the gang often targeted machines in residential areas “without a thought for the safety of the local community or the inconvenience caused to people who needed to get cash.”

She added that they “thought of nothing but their own criminal greed. Their conviction should send a message out that people who get involved in this sort of activity will be caught.”

Photo: Christine Pye

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