Men convicted of blowing up Shoreham cash point
Two men have been found guilty of blowing up a cashpoint at a post office in Shoreham during a string of similar offences across Kent and Sussex.
Ermias Fekade, 37, and Joel Spears, 31, were convicted of causing explosions and conspiracy to steal following a trial at Croydon Crown Court, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman confirmed.
A third defendant, Stephen Fahri, had already pleaded guilty to his role in the thefts, the spokesman said.
In total, seven ATMs were successfully targeted at garages, post offices and a train station between 31 January and 23 March, 2017, and a total of £150,000 was stolen.
In the final incident, a device left by an ATM at a post office in Southborough on 20 April failed to explode and the thieves fled the scene, according to the spokesman.
The defendants were arrested nearby following a car crash.
The explosion at an ATM at the Post Office branch in Mansell Road, Shoreham, occured at around 4.30am on Friday, March 3.
Around £20,000 was stolen during this incident.
Katie Samways from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “This was a series of dangerous offences putting members of the public who lived in close proximity to the explosions in grave danger.
“The CPS was able to build a compelling case against these defendant’s using a variety of evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police.
“This evidence included forensics, mobile phone evidence and complex investigation techniques which ultimately lead to the defendant’s arrests.
“The common attributes of the offences included the similar early morning timing of the offences, the use of expensive sports cars as mission vehicle’s and all but one of the ATM’s being in post offices or garages.
“In total £150,000 worth of cash was stolen and similar amount of damage caused over the course of seven offences.
“Thankfully their eighth and final offence failed.”
Other Sussex ATM’s that were targeted include one at Bexhill train station, Esso garage in Burnham, a post office in Saltdean and a post office in Hurstpierpoint.