Gang appear in court over string of cash machine ram raids

Damage caused at the Co-op store Photo Barry Stickings

Five men have appeared in court in connection with a series of cash machine thefts across Kent and Essex – including one at the Co-op in St Peter’s.

Four of the five admitted charges of conspiracy to steal the cash machines with one withholding a plea when they appeared before Woolwich Crown Court on Friday (October 4).

Adrian Gowers, 55, Derwent Way, Gillingham, Phillip Barnard, 25, High Street, Chelmsford, John Lee, 49, New Waverley Road, Basildon and David Eves, 48, Larch Road, Dartford all admitted charges of conspiracy to commit burglary. They have been remanded in custody.

A fifth man arrested in connection with the offences failed to enter a plea. Billy John Lee, 28, New Waverley Road, Essex remains on bail whilst proceedings continue.

The men were arrested by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate on July 22 following the theft of a cash machine in Brentwood, Essex. They were all charged in connection with the offence and four of them were remanded in custody.

Details of which cash machine theft that each of the four men are involved in will be finalised by the court at their next appearance.

The crimes under investigation in this case relate to:

An attempted theft in Hopeville Avenue, Broadstairs on  February 24.

The theft of a cash machine from a supermarket in Longfield Road, Tunbridge Wells on  April 4.

An incident on May 20 at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, Gillingham in which a cash machine was stolen.

An attempted theft from Watchgate, lane End, Dartford on  July 10.

The theft from Bretwood Road, Essex on July 22.

The men will be back before Woolwich Crown Court on December 6 for sentencing.