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Daily Record
Daily Record
Lucy Marshall & John-Paul Clark

Alarming moment gang behind ATM raid use transit van to ram into police officers

Alarming CCTV footage reveals the moment the gang responsible for a shocking raid on a Co-op rammed into cops with a van.

The gang of thugs carried out a number of ATM raids throughout England, racking up £580,000. One at Skelmanthorpe on May 11 , 2022, saw the gang flee with £24,690.

They have been now jailed, reports Yorkshire Live.

Before each heist they would steal a Transit van and attach a builders strap to the vehicle. The strap would be wrapped around ATMs in the stores and they would drive away and tear it from the wall, spilling wads of cash.

The gang would then flee the scene in stolen cars and the van would be abandoned. They used a cutting tool to cut through shutters at the stores but would first off carry out a recce in the days before they raided

The crime gang would steal Transit vans before carrying out raids. (MEN)

On the night they would don balaclavas and arm themselves with crow bars.

The hit on the Skelmanthorpe Co-op happened in the early hours of the morning on May 11, 2022. They broke in before and used the van and rope and dragged the machine onto the street.

But they were disturbed and fled in a white hatchback.

In another raid, at 4.15am on March 16, 2022, two men arrived in a black BMW outside the Co-op in Worsley, before being joined by another Transit van that had been stolen hours earlier. They attempted to grab from a cash machine inside the Co-op on Morston Close.

The attempt failed, but two days prior, they managed to escape with £21,420 in an attack at a Co-op in LIncolnshire.

This was the beginning of a five-month crime spree from March to July 2022 which saw them strike 19 times across England and Wales.

They used a lockup garage in Greater Manchester to keep their stolen cars, prior to each raid.

The four-man gang operated with ruthless violence and in one theft, at Warrington, they rammed into a police patrol car before hurling bricks at two cops inside.

A raid in Warrington, Cheshire, was the beginning of their downfall.

Detective Inspector Nick Henderson, of Cheshire Cosntabulary's Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: "A pattern was recognised by us after the 15th April 2022 when in the early hours we were struck by this team at the Nisa store in on Longshaw Street in Warrington. It was a nasty offence.

"Our response was almost immediate. Two female officers attended in their patrol car just as the offenders had dragged out the ATM. The offenders then turned their attention towards our cops and rammed into them - they had a real good go moving their Ford Transit van back and forwards into the patrol car. They then used bricks to throw at the officers as they drove by to shatter the windscreen of their car.

"In that attack they got away with £34,800. This began our involvement and led to some amazing detective work by our local policing unit. This was a large amount of money to be stolen - a really violent offence. Our investigations led to one of the cloned number plates used by the bandit car (a white Golf R type) they had used to getaway fast from the event.

"Detectives found the cloned plate in a local lane - potentially it came off the car - but we don't know. It then gave us an idea around the travel pattern because we were able to put it into our automatic number plate recognition cameras, and trace where they have come from. Even though we know it is a fake cloned plate. It was a matter of perseverence, checking hours of local footage including CCTV on local shops, ANPR cameras and houses, for CCTV."

Footage shows the gang ram the two cops in Warrnington with a Transit van and then pull alongside in the Golf and hurl bricks at the patrol car. Moments earlier, they raised an ATM at the store. Painstaking retracing of where the Golf had come from, over several weeks, paid off.

It was eventually tracked to Oakland Road, Lowton, Wigan.

This lockup garage was where the gang believed was their safe location to keep stolen motors. It was owned by the local council, but there had not been an owner of that garage for five years.

Police worked out the team that had struck in Warrington had already hit shops and supermarkets elsewhere due to a black BMW they had used being on CCTV in other offences.

Crimea Price (left) and Lee Leatherbarrow (right). (MEN)

Detective Inspector Henderson said: "The MO was very particular - using Transit vans stolen on the day. Police then set up a covert operation to watch the garage where they stashed either the Golf or the BMWs. Our intention was to absolutely dismantle this organised cirme group."

The police decided not to raid the lockup and instead to try and catch them red-handed during a raid. They got a breakthrough when one of the gang, Lee Leatherbarrow, turned up at the garage in his works van.

"Leatherbarrow was doing some kind of legitmate business as well involved in construction - he could also make his own number plates."

Two others, Crimea Price and John Price, were filmed returning a stolen BMW to the garage. The undercover police operation and analysis of Leathbarrow's phone data came to a head in the early hours of July 7th 2022.

DI Henderson said: "On that night another of the gang, Crimea Price, turned up at the garage in a tow truck and removed a BMW from the garage and placed it on the low loader.

"He took it over to Doncaster where Athur Gaskin resides at a travellers' site called Pony Paddocks and thus began a night of offending. Then we saw John Price, another of the offenders, move up from the Nottingham area."

The gang were then followed as they moved south in a stolen BMW. They tried to steal a Transit van but it broke down, and they stole a second.

As they carried out the raid the strap attached to the machine snapped twice, and they abandoned the attack, and the waiting police officers moved in on them.

During a chase reaching speeds of 90mph, the gang hurled a fire extinquisher and bricks at a police vehicle. A stinger device was used on the BMW, before it was boxed in by police vehicles and Crimea Price, John Price, and Arthur Gaskin, were detained.

DI Henderson said: "I have no doubt if we had not intervened after the Moira job they would have gone to another village probably that night. This was a highly sophisticated criminal group. They went to the offence location knowing what their role was."

After forcing the gang's car to stop, police searched Lee Leatherbarrow's home in St Helens and he was arrested. "We would say Crimea Price was leader of this group, but Leatherbarrow was the brains - he is very good mechanically, and with vehicles, it played a very important part. At his home we found items used for making number plates and locksmith tools."

Colleague, DI Mike Higgins, said: "The gang were based to the east and west - the St Helens area and Doncaster and would converge to meet at one or the other. At that point they would cease contacting each other and go out in the bandit car.

"It was hard work as at first we were monitoring a gang, but didn't know who they were - just where the jump off point for the getaway car was. But each time they committed a new offence we knew more about them."

John Price (left) and Arthur Gaskin (right). (MEN)

During one raid in Huddersfield they also threatend a female member of staff with an iron bar, who was in the store doing a nightime stock check. In another raid in Shropshire they mistakenly assumed that a woman driving by was a police officer and rammed her car with a Transit van, while they were changing number plates on a car.

DI Henderson said: "It was a sophisticated way of doing the crimes. The transit vans they stole on the night had to have a tow bar as they would put a huge builder's strap around it and then the machine. In the boot of the car would also be a whizzer tool for cutting through steel shutters"

The gang caused an estimated half million pounds worth of damage by wrecking the stores. "The one where we eventually caught them was in a village on the border of Leicestershire and Derbyshire and was closed for a week afterwards, depriving a community of their way of getting cash but also their groceries," he said.

Officers recovered items from Crimea Price's home, including thousands of pounds worth of Versace and Louboutin shoes and jewellery, a baby's dummy in a gold clasp on gold chain, and a £100,000 Land Rover Defender.

At Liverpool Crown Court the gang, Lee Leatherbarrow, 33, of Lascelles Street, St Helens; Crimea Price, 32, of Southworth Road, Newton-Le-Willows , Arthur Gaskin, 35, of no fixed address; and John Price, 28, of Newport Street, Burslem were all jailed after admitting conspiracy to commit burglary. Leatherbarrow and Gaskin received seven years and six months in jail; Crimea Price was sentenced to eight years and John Price to six years.

The crime spree:

14/03/2022 – Co-op High Street Sleaford, Lincs - £21,420 stolen.

16/03/2022 – Co-op Morston Close, Worsley - no cash taken.

18/03/2022 – Co-op Fylde Road, Southport - no cash taken

18/03/2022 – Morrisons, Sutton Park Drive, St Helens - £46,990.

23/03/2022 – Co-op Ermine Street, Grantham - no cash taken.

24/04/2022 – McColls , Birdwell, Barnsley - no cash taken.

30/03/2022 – McColls Peckers Hill Road, St Helens - £14,780.

01/04/2022 – Co-op Abbots Road, Stoke - £117,320.

06/04/2022 – Co-op Pant, Shropshire - £3,460.

14/04/2022 – Co-op Leek Road, Stoke - £110,630.

15/04/2022 – Nisa Longshaw Street, Warrington - £34,800.

28/04/2022 –McColls Wimbourne Ave, Stoke - £98,200.

06/05/2022 – McColls Gadfield Grove, Atherton - no cash taken.

11/05/2022 – Co-op Service Station Duckmanton, Derbyshire - £10,070

11/05/2022 – Co-op Skelmanthorpe, Huddersfield, - £24,690

27/05/2022 – Co-op West End Road, Haydock - £78,100

10/06/2022 – Co-op Woolstanton, Staffs - £20,240

04/07/2022 – Nisa Park Road South, Newton Le Willows - no cash taken

07/07/2022 – Co-op Shoreheath Road, Moira - no cash taken

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