Rush Green man jailed with gang for wave of cash machine thefts and home burglaries
PUBLISHED: 19:04 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 19:04 28 June 2019
A man from Rush Green has been jailed with six other members of his gang for a series of destructive cash machine thefts.
Mantas Antulis, 26 of Rose Glen, pleaded guilty to offences including conspiracy to steal, two counts of burglary and two counts of handling stolen goods.
He was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison. In total, the judge handed out almost 50 years' jail-time to the gang.
"None of the defendants have shown any remorse for their actions," said DC David Crewe.
"They were intent on committing well-planned criminality, which has had a significant impact on their victims and the wider communities of south east London."
The group's crime spree began in September 2017 when they drove through the front of a Wilkinson's store in Woolwich with a stolen military-style Land Rover.
They attached a heavy-duty rope to the standalone cash machine in the shop and dragged it out before stealing the money inside.
The truck was later found burnt-out in a nearby park.
In November, the gang drove a vehicle into an Abbey Wood Coop, dragging out the ATM inside and stealing £56,000.
In a failed June 2018 theft, the gang used a stolen Dodge RAM to crash into the front of an Welling Londis, but failed to get the ATM out of the shop.
Despite the failure, they caused significant damage to the building.
Officers found evidence of the gang committing residential burglaries, keyless car thefts and commercial burglaries across south east London.
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Their goal was to get vehicles to use in their heists.
The police swooped in on the group in seven simultaneous raids on lock-ups, allotments and safe houses in December 2018.
The six were arrested and officers seized twelve stolen vehicles, along with the strap and towing sling that had been used in the crimes.
Some of the stolen goods that were found had been taken in burglaries less than 24 hours earlier.
Carl Fletcher, 30, from Thamesmead, got 15 years for offences including conspiracy to steal and burglary.
Nicky McKenzie, 38 and from Bostall Hill, got seven years for his involvement in planning the ATM robberies, among other crimes.
Steven Akers, 27, from Plumstead, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle a non-residential building and cannabis production. He was handed five years and six months.
The judge sentenced Sam Hawkins, who is 31 and lives on Willow Lane, to nine years and four months for crimes including four counts of residential burglary.
Stacey Bass, 31, who also lived on Willow Lane, pleaded guilty to ten vehicle thefts and was jailed for 22 months.
And 20-year-old Robbie Bennett of Wellingborough, pleaded guilty to vehicle theft and two counts of handling stolen goods. He has been jailed for 22 months.
The group's crimes were so prolific, the police said they've seen a residential burglaries drop by a quarter since the gang was arrested.
"These criminals chose to steal rather than work for what they wanted," said DI Jason Barber.
"The public deserve to be protected from these people and feel reassured that the police take this criminality seriously."