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Two men jailed for ATM thefts in Brentwood and Plaistow

Anthony Crowley (left) and James Whitlock stole £50,000 over three months (Credit: Essex Police)

Two men who used explosives to steal cash machines in Essex and London have been jailed.

Anthony Crowley and James Whitlock used gas, fuel and in one case a petrol bomb to steal ATMs in Brentwood, Plaistow and six other locations between November 2019 and January 2020. 

They used gas, fuel and in one case a petrol bomb to try and take the cash machines, stealing £50,000 and causing damage worth around £15,000 in the process. 

CCTV footage of one of the incidents (Credit: Essex Police)

Detectives used forensics, phone work and automatic number plate recognition cameras to link the men and place them at the scenes of the offences. 

They also executed warrants in Hornchurch, Wickford and Walton-on-the-Naze and recovered items from vehicles that connected the men to the crimes. 

Crowley, 37, and Whitlock, 36, were both arrested on 16 January 2020 and later charged with conspiracy to commit burglary and handling stolen goods. 

Crowley was also charged with possession of a Class A drug while Whitlock was accused of failing to comply with a serious crime prevention order. 

Both men admitted the charges and at Basildon Crown Court Crowley was jailed for 14 and-a-half years while Whitlock was sentenced to 15 years in prison. 

A damaged ATM following the incident in Brentwood (Credit: Essex Police)

“Anthony Crowley and James Whitlock when to extreme lengths to steal from money from cash machines,” said Detective Superintendent Lee Morton.

“The methods they used posed a serious risk to the welfare of people living and working near to the ATMs they targeted and it was fortunate no-one was injured.

“They stole tens of thousands of pounds and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“Their actions, driven by greed and their own financial gain, were reckless even throwing a petrol bomb at one cash machine they had failed to get into.

“We carried out an exhaustive investigation which carefully pieced together evidence from various sources to build this case and I’m pleased we have been able to bring these men to justice.

“They will now face a significant amount of time behind bars as a result.”

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