Five members of an organised crime group who used specialist cutting equipment stolen from a Derbyshire fire station to break into cash machines have been jailed.
An investigation by West Mercia Police uncovered a number of thefts from fire stations and ATM break-ins across ten police force areas between June 2017 and September 2018, including across Derbyshire.
In one set of incidents, the five men were said to have taken equipment from Wirksworth Fire Station on September 19 last year, which were then used in a number of ATM attacks in the county.
It is believed the group made more than £1,000,000 and caused more than £200,000 worth of damage overall.
Gavin Tomlinson, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The theft of specialist cutting gear from one of our fire stations was a reckless act that not only put lives at risk, but also had a financial impact on the service with the cost of replacing the stolen equipment being in the region of £40,000.
“Firefighters use cutting gear every day, to cut people out of cars when they have become trapped by their injuries in a collision. This specialist equipment allows them to do this in the quickest, safest and most effective way, giving the casualty the best possible chance of survival and recovery.
“To steal this equipment is totally irresponsible, showing a complete disregard to public safety.”
The five men are:
* Michael Solomon Stubbs, 32, of Asheridge Close, Wednesfield - sentenced to 6 years 8 months.
* Noel Anthony Reilly, 39 of Wychall Lane, Birmingham - sentenced to 7 years 6 months
* Martin Steadman, 24 of Luce Road, Low Hill, Wolverhampton - sentenced to 7 years 6 months.
* Mohammed Maneer Khan, 31 of Great Hampton Street, Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton - sentenced to 4 years 10 months.
* Marcus Burton, 33 of May Farm Close, Hollywood, Birmingham, - sentenced to 5 years 10 months.
The men were sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to burgle and converting criminal property. Khan also pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property.
Serious Crime Prevention orders were also granted against Steadman, Stubbs, Reilly and Burton. These will place a number of restrictions on the defendants when they are released from prison and are designed to protect the public.