Grantham

Burglar who blew up ATM jailed for 10 years

A member of a gang who smashed into a store and blew up the ATM to steal £20,000 is now in a wheelchair after the getaway car crashed and his fellow burglars left him for dead.

Lincoln Crown Court was told on Wednesday how the gang used a circular saw to cut their way through security shutters outside the Co-op in Princes Drive, Grantham.

They then used an explosive gas to blow open the ATM machine inside the shop and steal the cash.

Afterwards they drove off at high speed from the store using a stolen high performance Audi car fitted with false number plates, but the sound of the explosion alerted neighbours and police were contacted.

Officers spotted the getaway car on the A17 and pursued it towards Newark.

The driver, Daniel McAllister, lost control and the car crashed ending up in a ditch, with life changing injuries, meaning he is now in a wheelchair.

McAllister was found inside seriously injured but his accomplices fled and have never been traced.

Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said: “The defendant and at least two others travelled to Grantham in the early hours in a stolen car with false number plates to carry out a sophisticated and professional commercial burglary.

“On arrival they used a circular saw to cut open the security shutters. They worked with speed and efficiency.

“The men wrenched open the front of the ATM and caused an explosion to open the rear section.”

An explosive gas was pumped into the ATM and ignited with a homemade device resulting in a large explosion which caused considerable damage.

The men then made off with £20,000 cash from the machine.

Mr Aspden said: “In order to evade the police the defendant drove the stolen car so quickly and dangerously that he lost control on the A17 just south of Newark. The defendant suffered multiple injuries and was arrested at the scene. His accomplices left the area before the police arrived.”

The stolen money was found on the back seat of the car.

McAllister, 41, of Charlesworth Street, Carr Vale, Bolsover, admitted charges of causing an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury, burglary and dangerous driving as a result of the incident on September 19 this year.

He was jailed for ten and a half years and banned from driving for three years. His driving ban commences on his scheduled release date from his jail sentence.

Judge Andrew Easteal, passing sentence, told him: “You have shown yourself to be a ruthless and determined criminal who commits acts such as this without hesitation and without regard for the effect on others.

“On any view this was a sophisticated burglary intended to steal the cash from an ATM.

“It took a great deal of skill to use an explosive force sufficient to tear that machine apart but not to destroy the money within it.”

Shufqat Khan, in mitigation, said his client suffered life changing injuries as a result of crashing the getaway car and now uses a wheelchair.

“He has spinal injuries. His spine was broken in two places. He has not been given any diagnosis as to whether he will be able to walk again.

“It is self inflicted. But for the offence he would not have suffered the injuries.”

Mr Khan said that McAllister had attempted to start a new life for himself away from crime but was blamed by a dealer for the loss of a consignment of drugs and found himself in debt to the man.

As a result he became involved in the raid, said Mr Khan.