W12 Man Sentenced For Daring ATM Theft

Cash machine forced out of Barclays Bank wall

A Shepherd's Bush man has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in an attempt to steal a whole ATM machine from a bank.

Forty-year-old Paul Thompson of Uxbridge Road, W12, along with two accomplices, used a seven-and-a-half tonne truck to pull the cash machine out of the wall of Barclays Bank in Finchley Road.

The daring raid took place shortly before three o'clock in the morning on 25 July 2009.

Once the ATM had been mounted onto the back of the truck, Thompson drove the vehicle away along the A406 North Circular Road. A ten-and-a-half mile police chase then followed, during which Thompson rammed the truck into pursuing police cars.

The chase ended when Thompson drove the truck into a dead-end street. He then reversed at speed into the police cars that were following him but following a violent struggle, he was arrested and detained by officers.

Thompson's two accomplices, 38-year-old Jason Perry of Clover Close, E11 and 32-year-old Darren Rutter of High Meadows, Chigwell, were arrested in a separate vehicle which was parked close to the Barclays Bank. Both men were also involved in a violent struggle prior to their arrest.

During the arrests two police officers were hurt and six police vehicles were damaged.

Detective Inspector David Malcolm, of the Finchley Flying Squad, said:"At the time of their arrests, Rutter, Thompson and Perry had absolutely no regard for anyone's safety. I would like to acknowledge the forward thinking and bravery of the officers at the Finchley Flying Squad, two of whom were injured during the course of the arrest and thank them for keeping
disruption to members of the public to a minimum."

The trio were already under surveillance at the time of the ATM theft. Officers located a warehouse at Unit 25, Billet Works, Billet Road, where specialist equipment used to disable alarms and execute burglaries was discovered. These items included a snake-eye camera, a laser cutter, heavy-duty jacks and crow-bars.

Modification of the truck used in the attempted ATM theft also took place at the warehouse. A hydraulic metal arm - used to grab and pull the ATM from its hole in the wall - had been attached to the rear of the vehicle. This was integrated with a remote control lever for the driver to use. The truck was also fitted with false number plates.

A camera device had been fitted to the bumper of the truck along with a display unit above the driver's seat. These modifications were to help the driver, Paul Thompson, extract the ATM machine from the wall.

"The evidence against this gang of three is not only overwhelming but testimony to how much planning and precision they used to commit crime. This team went to great lengths to ensure that they had specialist equipment to aid them in their criminal activities,” said Detective Inspector Malcolm.

The trio appeared at Wood Green Crown Court where they pleaded guilty to a combined total of 13 burglary offences, which spanned areas across London, Sussex, Suffolk, Essex and Kent. They were jailed for a combined total of 14 years.

Thompson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit five counts of burglary between 23 October 2008 and 25 July 2009, dangerous driving and driving whilst being disqualified. He was also disqualified from driving for five years.

20 March 2010