Men conspired over campaign of devastating ATM ram raids in Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire

A forklift was used to ram into the Coop store in Rudgwick in September. Picture: Eddie Howland
A forklift was used to ram into the Coop store in Rudgwick in September. Picture: Eddie Howland

A group of men conspired over a series of devastating late-night ram raids across Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire

Shops and service stations across the region were smashed open in the dead of night and ATM machines seized in a lengthy campaign of criminality last year.

Sainsbury's Local in High Street, Billingshurst was hit in October 2018

Sainsbury's Local in High Street, Billingshurst was hit in October 2018

Premises across Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire were among those hit.

Now three men arrested as part of police investigations into the 11 raids have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burglary of premises with intent to steal ATM machines and their contents.

However police have not been able to bring the whole crime group to justice, with ‘persons unknown’ also listed on the indictment as being involved in the conspiracy, the court heard.

Two of the ATM conspirators also pleaded guilty to conspiring to rob an address in Guildford alongside two other men.

A store in Denmead was also broken into

A store in Denmead was also broken into

All five men appeared at Hove Crown Court yesterday in front of Judge Jeremy Gold QC.

Claims of a 'set up' and 'blackmail'

Jason Mobey, 41, of MacDonald Road in Farnham, ranted about being ‘set up’ and accused persons unknown of ‘blackmail’ as he loudly pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle shops for their ATMs.

Les Keet, 29, of Cobbet’s Close in Guildford and Jimmy Shea, 24, of Nursery Road in Alton also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burglary in relation to the ATMs.

A forklift was used to ram into the Coop store in Rudgwick in September

A forklift was used to ram into the Coop store in Rudgwick in September

Shea – the youngest of the conspirators – had to appear in the dock after the others had already been dealt with for his own safety, the court heard.

According to the prosecution the conspiracy took place over a period of six months, between May and December last year.

In his guilty plea, Keet said he only accepted taking part in the conspiracy from September 21 onwards, the court heard.

11 businesses hit in series of devastating raids

Between July and November last year police linked 11 burglaries and cash machine thefts across three counties:

1. July 9, 1.20am - Tesco Express, Ridgway Rd, Farnham

2. August 14, 2am - CO-OP, Wych Hill, Woking

3. August 17, 3am - Halifax, West Street, Farnham

4. September 9, 2.45am - CO-OP, Rudgwick, Sussex

5. September 19, 4.25am - Nutbourne Service Station, Nutbourne, Chichester

6. September 21, 3am - Sleaford Service Station, Bordon, Hampshire

7. October 3, 1.30am - Co-op, Hambledon Road, Denmead, Hampshire

8. October 12, 4.20am - Sainsbury’s Local, High Street, Billingshurst, Sussex

9. November 4, 4.43am - Lloyds Bank, Ockham Road South, East Horsley

10. November 5, 4.30am - Tesco Express, Vale Way, Kingsworthy, Winchester

11. November 17, 4.03am - HSBC Bank, 74 High Street, Alton

No charges in relation to who actually carried out the raids are being pursued at this time, the CPS confirmed.

Robbery conspiracy involving others

Mobey and Keet also pleaded guilty to being part of another criminal conspiracy alongside two other men.

Also involved were Eric Summerfield, 63 of Walnut Tree Close in Guildford and Melvyn Beech, 47, of Kingston Road.

The four men admitted conspiring to rob an address in Guildford between December 6 and December 9 last year.

All other charges in relation to the raids and robbery conspiracies were left to lie on file.

The five men will appear at Hove Crown Court for sentencing on June