Fenland members of gang which bagged �1million from cashpoints lose sentence appeals
TWO Fenland members of a gang who bagged nearly �1million in cashpoint raids across the region had appeals against nine-year jail terms thrown out. Geoffrey Manning, 34; and Steven Upton, 28, both of Seadyke Bank, Wisbech St Mary, were members of a six-st
TWO Fenland members of a gang who bagged nearly �1million in cashpoint raids across the region had appeals against nine-year jail terms thrown out.
Geoffrey Manning, 34; and Steven Upton, 28, both of Seadyke Bank, Wisbech St Mary, were members of a six-strong gang which carried out raids across East Anglia and the Midlands.
Four of the gang were jailed in January for nine years for conspiring to commit burglaries, with the other two given 15-month jail sentences for conspiring to steal.
On Friday Manning and Upton had appeals against their sentences turned down after a judge dismissed claims their terms were "manifestly excessive".
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Upton, who acted as the getaway driver for the gang, had a poor criminal record and had previously carried out raids on shops and small supermarkets across the East Midlands - offences Mr Justice Langstaff said had "parallels" with the cash machine raids.
Two other members of the gang also appealed their nine-year jail terms for conspiring to commit burglaries and had their sentences cut to eight years. They are:
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• Wesley Smith, 27, of Palmers Road, Peterborough.
• John Smith, 46, of Drain Road, Peterborough.
Mr Justice Langstaff ruled they had not been given enough credit for their guilty pleas, even though they came just three weeks before their trial was due to start.
The judge concluded: "This was a highly professional, highly successful, gang involved in attacking premises. The motive was plainly greed and the offences were well organised."
The gang disguised themselves before using sledgehammers, drills and oxyacetylene equipment in carefully planned attacks on ATMs, before making their getaways in cars specially altered to out-run police vehicles.
In total, they struck at 55 cash machines between April 2006 and October 2007, committing an average of three burglaries a month.
Tesco ATMs were the gang's favourite target, with 28 of the raids committed at the company's stores - netting them about �640,000.
In Fenland, they struck at the Tesco and ASDA stores in Wisbech. On one occasion, they stole �112,500 in a single raid at ASDA.
The two men given 15-month jail sentences in January for their part in the raids were:
• Jason Bingley, of East Water Crescent, Peterborough.
• Ross Drew, of Godwit Crescent, Whittlesey.