A BURGLAR who was part of a gang that ram raided a convenience store and caused £10,000 of damage has been jailed.

David Bennett and his three co-conspirators targeted the cash machine at the Co-op store in Latchford village late one night in May this year.

Warrington Guardian:

The 42-year-old was handed four-and-a-half years behind bars yesterday, Thursday, after admitting burglary.

Chester Crown Court heard that the gang arrived at the premises at Bridge Shopping Centre on Maybrook Place at around 10.45pm on Thursday, May 28, in two stolen vehicles.

After getting out of the black BMW and white van, the quartet forced open the shop’s shutters and placed a heavy duty chain around the cash machine before unsuccessfully attempting it to pull it out of the store using the latter vehicle.

All four offenders fled in the BMW, with the van being left at the scene and the car later found abandoned in the Partington area of Manchester.

Warrington Guardian:

Police enquiries found that another vehicle registered to Bennett had scoped out the building with a white Ford Transit days before the incident, while his DNA was found on the chain used during the break-in and in the BMW.

Officers raided his home in Partington on Friday, September 9, and seized a number of items – including a heavy duty chain, hydraulic metal cutters, mole grips and a lump hammer.

The other burglars have not yet been traced.

Detective constable Ian Morris, who led the investigation, said: “While the nation was in lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Bennett and his accomplices were using the period as an opportunity to commit crime.

“They were unsuccessful in their attempts to steal money, but they did cause more than £10,000 worth of damage to the cash machine and store.

Warrington Guardian:

“Bennett believed that officers would never be able to trace him – he was sorely mistaken.

“He made no comment during his police interview, but after seeing the strength of the evidence gathered against him Bennett realised that there was no way out – he pleaded guilty at court and is now facing the consequences of his actions.

“I hope Bennett’s sentencing provides some comfort to the victims in the case, and I would like to reassure them that we won’t give up on our efforts to trace the outstanding offenders and that should any new information come to light we will act upon it.”

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane added: “Burglary, both residential and business, is a serious offence.

“As the PCC for Cheshire I understand the impact that burglaries have on victims, which is why tackling this serious crime is one of my key priorities.

“I welcome the sentence handed to the offender in this case and I would like to thank all the officers involved in the investigation - as a result of their work, a burglar is now behind bars.”