A BASILDON ram raider is facing a long jail sentence for his part in a series of cash machine raids across Kent and Essex.

John Lee has admitted conspiracy to commit burglary following a series of ATM thefts between February 24 and July 22 this year.

The Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad tracked down more than a dozen members of ram raiding gangs with several already jailed and more sent to join them.

The 49-year-old’s charge follows a huge investigation into home and store burglaries across Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Cambridgeshire and London in 2018 and 2019.

The investigation led to eight men from Harlow being jailed for a combined 55 years on Friday for a string of ATM thefts in Essex and Hertfordshire.

Walter, Jack, William and Levi Mitchell, Walter Mitchell Junior, Shane Stanley, Sid Clark and Ross Whitford, all from Fern Hill Lane, Rock Lane and Kingsmoor Road, Harlow, received jail sentences for conspiracy to commit commercial and dwelling burglaries and conspiracy to handle stolen goods and stealing vehicles.

Essex Police believe the total cost of the thefts and damage by the gang was more than £1 million.

They managed to steal whole ATMs and escape the crime scene in less than one minute. The police’s work into the ATM thefts involved more than 100 investigations of 35 commercial burglaries.

Lee, of New Waverley Road, Basildon, will be sentenced on December 6 along with Adrian Gowers, 55, Derwent Way, Gillingham, Phillip Barnard, 25, High Street, Chelmsford,and David Eves, 48, Larch Road, Dartford for their parts.

Marc Terry, International Managing Director for Cardtronics, said: “Let these sentences be a warning for anyone out there contemplating an attack on our secure ATMs.

“These results show that our Secure ATM initiative is exceptionally effective in helping the police track down, catch and send to jail those who attempt to attack Cardtronics machines.

“Congratulations and our thanks go to the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate for its excellent work in helping us to protect access to cash for local and rural communities, who rely on ATMs for basic banking services.

“Our work does not stop here – we are fighting to protect access to cash across the whole of the UK and will not rest until ATM crime is eradicated and ceases to be a threat.”