Slideshow: FENLAND: Convicted travellers told to pay �150,000 each or stay in prison longer
FOUR members of a gang of travellers– including two from Fenland- who were jailed for their part in a �1 million crime spree were today EACH ordered to hand over �150,000 from the proceeds. A confiscation hearing took place at Lincoln Crown Court when eac
FOUR members of a gang of travellers- including two from Fenland- who were jailed for their part in a �1 million crime spree were today EACH ordered to hand over �150,000 from the proceeds.
A confiscation hearing took place at Lincoln Crown Court when each was ordered to forfeit �150,000 or face their jail terms being extended.
The four were:
• Wesley Smith, 26, formerly of Flag Fen View, Palmers Road, Newark, Peterborough.
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• Geoffrey Manning, 34, formerly of Willow Place, Seadyke Road, Wisbech St Mary, Cambridgeshire.
• John Smith, 35, formerly of CWP House, Edgerley Drain Road, Peterborough.
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• Steven Upton, 28, formerly of Green Acres, Seadyke Road, Wisbech St Mary, Cambridgeshire
If any of the four default on paying this sum within six months, an extra two years and three months will be added to their existing sentence.
The four men had been convicted last year of robbing commercial properties and automatic teller machines (ATM) between April 2006 and October 2007.
The majority of the attacked ATMs were situated within the grounds of supermarkets such as Tesco and Spar throughout East Anglia.
The ATMs were attacked initially by drilling; however this progressed to the use of oxyacetylene cutting equipment.
In total �961,150 cash was stolen over the 18 month period, and in excess of �44,400 of damage was caused.
The police investigation was conducted by officers of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit under the name of Operation Channel.
On September 1 last year each of the subjects were sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court to 9 years imprisonment.
Two further subjects (Ross Drew and Jason Bingley) were convicted of supplying a vehicle used during the burglaries and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment.
A police spokesman said: "The confiscation hearing was held to determine the extent of the defendant's benefit from their offending" Police set out to prove to the court today the extent of each accused's wealth and to apply to have their assets confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation.
CCTV footage realised earlier this year showed the gang in action across the regions - including ASDA in Wisbech - and the high-performance cars they used such as Audi estates and a Subaru Impreza.
The police spokesman said: "Over a period of time a group of travellers from the Cambridgeshire area were identified as being potential suspects in relation to theses offences.
"Over the next 10 months officers began to collate evidence and intelligence into the crime group. This work was both reactive and pro-active and due to the nature of the offenders and the areas they frequented it was both difficult and at times dangerous.
"The team also had to gain assistance from other areas and in particular Tesco and Vodafone provided crucial assistance.
"As a result of this work a series of dawn raids were conducted on October 31 2007 at various addresses in the Cambridgeshire area.