Two members of a group who caused huge damage to businesses around Kent during a series of cash machine thefts have been jailed for a total of more than 16 years.
More than £1.5million worth of damage was caused to supermarkets and service stations during thefts and attempted thefts between November 2019 and January 2021.
Anthony Pemberthy and Stephen Davenport were tracked down and arrested by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate following use of advanced DNA tracing techniques.
Both men were charged with burglary offences and admitted charges on Thursday 3 November 2022, ahead of a planned trial at Maidstone Crown Court.
On Thursday 10 November, Pemberthy, 44, formerly of Calder Road, Maidstone, was given an eight-year, nine month sentence and Davenport, 61, formerly of Ashford Road, Maidstone, was handed seven years, five months.
Footage of three of the offences.
The case related to six incidents in Kent, during which diggers were used in an attempt to remove cash machines and the money they contained from the walls of businesses.
The first offence took place at Co-op in Cranbrook High Street in the early hours of Thursday 14 November 2019. Significant damage was caused to the store and nearly £30,000 in cash was taken. A pick-up truck and the cash machine were later recovered by police in Marden.
Two months later, on Saturday 25 January 2020, a further burglary took place at Esso petrol station on Cranbrook Road, Staplehurst. During that incident, around £80,000-worth of damage was done to the building and around £20,000 in cash was stolen.
On Monday 23 March 2020, a group using a digger tore two cash machines from the wall of Tesco Extra in Whitfield, near Dover. The vehicles involved drove at officers on foot who attended and rammed two police cars as they left the scene. Over £200,000 was stolen and £40,000 of damage was caused.
The same group then took part in two failed attempts to steal cash machines; the first at Morrisons in Coldharbour Road, Northfleet, on Sunday 31 January 2021; and the second at Tesco Express in High Street, Dymchurch, on Sunday 28 February 2021. Both buildings were severely damaged but the offenders failed to make off with any money.
The final offence took place at Shell Lychgate petrol station on the A299 Thanet Way near Dargate, on Monday 1 March 2021, when around £50,000-worth of cash was stolen.
The total damage, theft and loss incurred in all six offences is estimated at more than £1.8million.
Detectives used advanced DNA techniques to show Davenport was driving the pick-up trucks used during the Cranbrook and Staplehurst offences. He later admitted charges in relation to two offences.
Pemberthy meanwhile was shown to have operated the diggers used in Staplehurst, Whitfield, Northfleet and Dymchurch. He later admitted charges in relation to all six offences.
Officers further showed that, in February 2020, the pair were in convoy with a stolen Range Rover used by the group.
Pemberthy and Davenport's sentencing comes two months after another man was jailed for five years, five months for his part in a similar offence which took place in Canterbury in November 2021. Detectives are treating that incident as linked to those in the latest case.
Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Greenstreet, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: 'Today's sentences send out a message to anyone thinking of targeting businesses in our county: Kent Police will track you down and bring you to justice, whatever lengths we have to go to.
'I would like to thank businesses and other partner agencies for their help during the investigation. Measures to help prevent future offences of this kind are now in place and I hope staff and workers at businesses around the county feel safer knowing that these two men are in jail.
'Pemberthy and Davenport didn't care how much damage they caused, or who they injured, as they committed these shocking offences and the sentences handed down today reflect the seriousness of their criminal behaviour.'
In June this year, Kent Police was given the NPCC Police Partnership Initiative Award at the British Security Awards for its special project working with businesses and partner agencies in 2021 to risk assess the location of cash machines and offer safety advice to owners.