A man who was involved in a failed attempt to steal a cash machine from a Co-op store in Warrington has been jailed for more than four years.
David Bennett, 42, was one of a four offenders who arrived at the Co-operative store in Bridge Shopping Centre, Maybrook Place, Latchford, at around 10.45pm on Thursday 28 May in two stolen vehicles. After getting out of the black BMW and the white van, the group forced open the store’s shutter doors.
Once inside they placed a heavy duty chain around the cash machine and attempted to pull it out of the shop using the van.
After failing to do so and failing to gain access to the cash inside the machine, the offenders fled in the BMW. They left the van at the scene.
Officers from Warrington response attended the scene, and quickly located the BMW abandoned outside an address on Hardwick Road in Partington.
An investigation was launched by Detectives from Warrington Beat Initiative Team (BIT), and subsequent ANPR enquiries revealed that a vehicle registered to a nearby Hardwick Road address had travelled past the Co-op store in convoy with a white transit van in the days prior to the burglary – the vehicles appeared to be scoping out the premises ahead of the burglary.
The vehicle was insured to Bennett, and following a lengthy investigation, on Friday 9 September officers executed a warrant at his Hardwick Road home.
They seized a number of items from the address, including a heavy duty chain, hydraulic metal cutters, mole grips and a lump hammer.
Bennett was arrested at the address and subsequent DNA tests proved that he had handled the chain which was used in the burglary. Traces of his DNA were also found in the BMW. Bennett was subsequently charged with burglary.
He appeared at Chester Crown Court yesterday, Thursday 15 October where he was jailed for four-and-a-half years after admitting the offence.
Following his sentencing, Detective Constable Ian Morris, who led the investigation at Warrington BIT, said: “While the nation was in lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Bennett and his accomplices were using the period as an opportunity to commit crime.
“They were unsuccessful in their attempts to steal money, but they did cause more than £10,000 worth of damage to the cash machine and store.
“Bennett believed that officers would never be able to trace him. He was sorely mistaken.
“He made no comment during his Police interview, but after seeing the strength of the evidence gathered against him Bennett realised that there was no way out.
“He pleaded guilty at court and is now facing the consequences of his actions.
“I hope Bennett’s sentencing provides some comfort to the victims in the case, and I would like to reassure them that we won’t give up on our efforts to trace the outstanding offenders and that should any new information come to light we will act upon it.”
Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane added: “Burglary, both residential and business, is a serious offence.
“As the PCC for Cheshire, I understand the impact that burglaries have on victims, which is why tackling this serious crime is one of my key priorities.
“I welcome the sentence handed to the offender in this case and I would like to thank all the officers involved in the investigation. As a result of their work, a burglar is now behind bars.”