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Prolific cash machine thieves jailed

A gang that used circular saws to cut their way to money stored inside supermarket cash machines has been sentenced to jail at Birmingham Crown Court, bbc.co.uk writes.

Noel Reilly, David Holmes, Darren Buckley and Simon Phillips received jail terms of between five and seven years each for their various roles in over 30 raids.

From November 2010, the gang targeted dispensers situated at Co-Op stores in 17 counties across England. The thefts amounted to a staggering £700,000.

The group, their identities hidden under balaclavas, was captured on CCTV breaking into the stores using axes and hammers to smash doors and windows. They then cracked open the cash machines using circular saws that, sky.com writes, were 'normally used for cutting rail tracks'.

Cash machines were not the only focus of the group's year-long crime spree; they also stole high-performance vehicles and used them as getaway cars to after robbing the cash points.

Police launched a nationwide search for the gang, who carried out raids in points as geographically diverse as Devon, Kent and Lincolnshire. They were discovered near Birmingham when police investigators noticed some men 'acting suspiciously' around an Audi RS4. Forensic tests confirmed the four men as suspects and they were arrested in September 2011.

Unbelievably, while on bail, Reilly and Holmes carried out another raid before being tracked to a cottage in Somerset.

Commenting on the raids, West Midlands Police Inspector, Warren Hines said: "These offences were clearly well-rehearsed and, in some cases, committed very efficiently in just a matter of minutes."

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