A GANG which stole close to £50,000 from a cash machine in Birchwood have been ordered to repay a chunk of their ill-gotten gains.

Five men were jailed for burgling the Nisa Local store on Glover Road, which saw them make away with their cash haul after targeting an ATM inside.

Armed with angle grinders, members of the quintet broke into store via the roof during the early hours of October 3, 2019, using the tool when inside to force open the cash machine.

Police investigations, which involved examining hundreds of hours of CCTV footage, linked them to similar incidents in Wakefield and Telford in which £5,000 in cash and £14,000 of cigarettes were taken.

A series of raids were then carried out at the homes of the organised crime group, with items seized including angle grinders, expensive clothes, watches, mobiles phones and more than £14,000 in cash.

Warrington Guardian: Mark Edwards and Sean DevereuxMark Edwards and Sean Devereux

Mark Edwards, Sean Devereux, Peter O’Neill and Liam Doherty all pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit burglary with intent to steal.

Appearing at Liverpool Crown Court for sentence on February 27, 2020, they were ordered to serve more than 16 years behind bars in total.

Edwards, 47 and from Huyton, was jailed for five years, while 30-year-old Devereux and 41-year-old O’Neill, both of Liverpool, were imprisoned for four-and-a-half years each.

Doherty, 39 and also from Liverpool, was sentenced to three years and nine months behind bars.

The fifth gang member, Shaun Blackburn, managed to evade officers initial arrest attempts, and after realising that police were onto the gang he went on the run and was subsequently added to the police wanted list.

Warrington Guardian: Peter O’Neill, Liam Doherty and Shaun BlackburnPeter O’Neill, Liam Doherty and Shaun Blackburn

Despite his best efforts to evade justice, Blackburn was arrested in Merseyside on June 12 last year after he was spotted by officers.

He appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on August 28 last year, where he was sentenced to three years and six months in prison after admitting conspiracy to commit burglary.

The 37-year-old from Merseyside also received a further three years and three months in prison for a number of drugs offences in Liverpool – taking his total sentence to six years and nine months.

Four of the gang members have appeared back before Liverpool Crown Court over the past six months for Proceeds of Crime Act hearings to determine how much of their ill-gotten gains they would be forced to repay.

On February 19, Devereux was ordered to pay back £5,206, while Edwards was told £1,058 would be confiscated from him on April 29.

Warrington Guardian: The gang targeted the Nisa Local store on Glover Road in Birchwood (Image: Google Maps)The gang targeted the Nisa Local store on Glover Road in Birchwood (Image: Google Maps)

Appearing before the court on May 28, Doherty was told assets to the value of £236.80 would be seized from him.

The most recent and significant confiscation order was made last week, when judge David Aubrey told O’Neill he must repay £21,863 within three months, or in default serve an additional six months in prison.

This brings the total amount ordered to be repaid so far to £27,305.80.

Following the initial sentencing of Edwards, Devereux, O’Neill and Doherty, DC Ian Morris said: “This criminal enterprise went to great lengths to plan and coordinate attacks on cash machines with the intent of gaining significant amounts of cash.

Warrington Guardian: Liverpool Crown CourtLiverpool Crown Court

“The businesses they targeted were recognised as providing important services to our local communities, and the devastation of these incidents should not be underestimated.

“Not only did they cause thousands of pounds worth of damage, but they also had a profound impact on other businesses and residents within the local area."

DS Ian Bingley added: “The sentences show no matter how many crimes you commit in different areas, you cannot avoid being caught – we will relentlessly pursue you until you are captured.

“We are determined to disrupt all levels of serious organised crime within our communities and keep people safe.”