MEMBERS of a gang have admitted their roles in a conspiracy carrying out 11 devastating ram raids across Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey.
Shops and service stations across the region were smashed open and ATM machines seized in a lengthy campaign last year.
Among the shops hit in the raids was Co-op in Hambledon Road, in Denmead, along with premises near Chichester and Horsham in West Sussex.
Head of serious organised crime for Surrey and Sussex, Detective Superintendent Karen Mizzi, said: ‘Recent ATM thefts have posed a severe risk and danger to the public and it has a severe impact on rural communities who rely on these machines.
‘I’m pleased that our team, coordinated with Sussex and Hampshire forces, were able to make the arrests.’
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.
All five men, three of whom admitted the raids on cash machines and two who admitted a separate robbery bid at Guildford, appeared at Hove Crown Court on Wednesday in front of judge Jeremy Gold QC.
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.
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 onward, the court heard.
Jason Mobey, 40, of Macdonald Road, Farnham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary (non-dwelling) and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Jimmy Shea, 24, of Nursery Road, Alton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary (non-dwelling).
Les Keet, 29, of Cobbetts Close, Normandy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary (non-dwelling) and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Eric Summerfield, 63, of Walnut Tree Close, Guildford pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery.
Melvyn Beech, 47, of Kingston Road, Leatherhead pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery.
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
The five men will appear at Hove Crown Court for sentencing in June.