Jail for two men who took disc cutter to Northampton ATM in bid to steal £43,000

Police arrived at the cash machine outside Waitrose, near Wootton, to find someone had caused 16,000 worth of damage using an disc cutter.
Police arrived at the cash machine outside Waitrose, near Wootton, to find someone had caused 16,000 worth of damage using an disc cutter.

Two men who tried to crack open a cash machine outside a Northampton supermarket using a disc cutter have been jailed.

Eaton Grant and Mark Bale, both from Rugby, were caught in the dead of night after a silent alarm alerted to the attempted theft outside Waitrose, in Newport Pagnell Road, near Wootton.

Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday (January 21) how, when police arrived, they found the ATM had been attacked with a disc cutter, causing over £16,000 worth of damage.

Nearby CCTV cameras were sprayed with paint to hide the thieves' work on the machine, which contained over £43,000 in cash.

But a police dog soon tracked 51-year-old Grant down to a road near the supermarket, who was carrying a bag with a crowbar, two battery packs and plastic gloves.

Meanwhile, his co-offender - 42-year-old Bale - ran from the scene but was tracked down by a police helicopter.

Both men later pleaded guilty to trying to break open the secluded cash machine - although the court heard they were 'almost certainly' not the only people who were in on the job.

The court heard how Grant had 'turned his life around' from a history of offending since his last conviction eight years ago and his part in the crime was 'a stupid mistake', while Bale's involvement was 'a stupid decision'.

But Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking told the two men: "The fact is both of these men joined in a sophisticated and well-planned enterprise.

"If not for the alarm I am confident you would have succeeded in this offence. Although you did not play a leading role, you joined in on an attack on this ATM.

"This offence is so serious that nothing but an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate."

Bale and Grant were both sentenced to 26 months in prison each.