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'Fast and Furious' gang caught by police because they stopped for McDonald's

Mirror logo Mirror 7/04/2017
Credits: Britsol Post © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Britsol Post

A Fast and Furious-style gang who blew up cash machines and escaped in 150 mph modified cars were finally caught because of a McDonald's breakfast.

The crooks, who used a stolen truck as their mobile HQ, stole hundreds of thousands of pounds in ATM raids across England and Scotland.

Credits: Liverpool Echo © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Liverpool Echo But they have finally been brought to justice after they stopped during a heist getaway for a McDonald's breakfast - only to find themselves surrounded by armed police.

Led by crime kingpin Andrew White, 28, the gang used gas canisters to blast out the ATMs and even had hammocks in the back of their truck for overnight jobs.

Now seven of the crew have been convicted of conspiring to cause explosions and burgle commercial premises, the Daily Record reported .

Credits: Liverpool Echo © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Liverpool Echo

Their cocky takeway stop at McDonald’s allowed police to catch up with them and arrest them in a dramatic armed swoop.

They had stolen more than £100,000 ($125,000) in a series of raids on ATMs across the UK before justice caught up with them in the car park in Arbroath, Scotland, last February.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc And after a 12-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court, the seven men are facing lengthy jail terms.

They were caught after carrying out a blast-and-grab raid on a Co-op cash machine.

Credits: Britsol Post © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Britsol Post As they munched on their 
McMuffins after driving seven miles away from the crime scene, a police officer who had popped in for a bite to eat after her night shift spotted their getaway car and phoned it in.

A swarm of police vehicles, including a helicopter, which had been engaged in a massive search for the robbers, swooped on the takeaway in Scotland's Westway Retail Park.

Customers, including children, looked on in horror as armed cops swooped and marksmen blasted the tires of the white Mercedes with a volley of wax bullets designed to disable the vehicle.

Other officers carrying rifles surrounded the vehicle and
 overpowered and handcuffed the members of the Merseyside gang.

Credits: Liverpool Echo © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Liverpool Echo They had been caught red-handed as they feasted on their McDonald’s meals with bundles of cash scattered at their feet inside the car.

Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Green, head of Titan, the North West's organized crime unit, said: “These men were driven by greed.

“They didn’t think about the dangerous nature of what they were doing and the potential that they could cause serious and significant injuries to others through their 
recklessness.”

Credits: Liverpool Echo © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Liverpool Echo The biggest prize on the arrest list at the takeaway was White, who was on police “most wanted” lists for ATM robberies in the UK and Spain.

White, from St Helens, Merseyside, was found guilty of conspiracy to cause blasts and admitted the burglary charge.

He had previously been cleared of 31 gas bomb attacks on ATMs in England which had netted nearly £800,000.

The jury heard White co-ordinated some of the gang’s activities on a hidden mobile phone from his prison cell while on remand for other 
alleged offences.

Credits: Britsol Post © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Britsol Post His brother Anthony White, 26, was found guilty of both charges along with Michael Galea, 41, and Gary Carey, 40.

Nanu Miah, 28, of Birmingham, was found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions and admitted the second charge.

Two other men, Carl Cavanagh, 33, and Anthony Conroy, 29, admitted both conspiracies. Scott Pearson, 35, was found not guilty of conspiracy to burgle commercial premises.

Andrew White, Conroy, Cavanagh and Miah were caught at McDonald’s and appeared from custody at Forfar Sheriff Court – along with a fifth man who did not figure in the Liverpool trial – three days later.

Credits: Britsol Post © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Britsol Post One local who witnessed the events described the shootout as like 
something from downtown Los Angeles, remarking: “You don’t really expect this in Arbroath.”

The court was told how the gang used vehicles to drag ATMs away from some of their targeted locations after sawing through doors and shutters with high-powered tools.

CCTV clips showed the devastating impact of the gas explosions used in other raids, while shocking dashcam footage revealed how police chased the crooks at speeds of 150mph.

In court, the prosecution said the robbers riskily pumped oxyacetylene gas directly 
into ATMs via rubber tubing and 
ignited it – often using a spark from a car battery.

Credits: Britsol Post © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Britsol Post The gang targeted 13 cash points in several parts of England and Scotland from February 2015 to February 2016.

Evidence gathered covertly revealed they were using a variety of fast stolen cars, including high-powered Audi RS4s and RS6s and Mercedes A45 and GLA45 AMGs.

Prosecutor Ian Unsworth QC 
said the gang used “dedicated, 
ruthless and sophisticated 
methods to steal vast quantities of money”.

They drove their stolen vehicles in a 
“terrifying way” and relied on a huge number of mobile phones to avoid being caught.

Credits: Britsol Post © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Britsol Post Dashcam footage from an unmarked police vehicle showed one silver 
estate car cross straight from lane 
three of the M6 motorway to the hard shoulder.

The gang were eventually brought to justice following a seven-month joint investigation between Titan and Police Scotland.

Detective Superintendent Alex Dowall, from Police Scotland, said the convictions marked the culmination of “an extremely challenging and complex police investigation” to bring “dangerous individuals to justice”.

He said: “This group of men ran an extremely intelligent and highly
 organized operation which involved planning their criminal behaviour in Liverpool before travelling throughout Scotland and England to carry out 
raids on ATMs.

Credits: Liverpool Echo © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Liverpool Echo “They employed evasive and complex tactics to avoid detection and put both the public and themselves in danger.

“The communities that were targeted by this group are safe places to live and not exposed to crimes of such a serious, dangerous and crude nature.

“The impact on the people who live within them cannot be overstated and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their information, support and patience throughout.

“Serious organized crime seeks to undermine our safety and I am in no doubt these 
convictions will go a long way to making our communities safer places.”

The gang will be sentenced on April 19.

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