BRAZEN thieves who cut through a service station roof in a bid to raid the cash machine have been jailed.
James Hodgin, Kevin O’Loughlin and John Clarke smashed their way into Hambleton Service Station in an attempt to access the service station’s ATM - but police turned up before they could make off with the cash.
It was the second raid the trio had attempted in just one month after they also unsuccessfully targeted the cash machine at the Spar store on Garstang Road East, in Poulton.
And now 29-year-old Hodgin, 36-year-old O’Loughlin and Clarke, 24 - who are all from Merseyside - have been jailed for a total of more than five years by a judge at Preston Crown Court.
The raids happened in March and April last year and Justin Entwistle, owner of Hambleton Service Station, on Shard Lane, said: “They tried to come through the roof and it was a pain because they made a mess and we had to get workmen in.
“But they didn’t take anything because the police turned up as they were trying to get into the building.
“They had already got through the roof but they were going to progress further before the police arrived and they jumped off the roof and ran.”
The group was caught after police stopped a high-powered Chrysler on the M6, heading toward Liverpool, shortly after the break-in in Hambleton.
At Preston Crown Court on Friday all three were locked up, with Hodgin, from Prenton, jailed for two years, O’Loughlin, from Birkenhead, locked up for 21 months and Clarke, also from Birkenhead, jailed for 18 months.
Mr Entwistle added: “It’s quite nice to know they have been caught and sentenced.
“It’s always good when someone is charged.”
The judge also asked for the forfeiture of the Chrysler and a Volvo found abandoned close to Hambleton service station, as well as the high-value items of cutting equipment and sat-navs they were in possession of.
Det Con Lisa Wainwright said: “The attempt in Poulton and the break-in in Hambleton caused considerable damage to the properties and meant two local businesses suffered a commercial loss while repairs were made.
“Had this trio been successful, then they could have got away with a substantial amount of cash, which would inevitably have had an impact on the local community.
“The quick arrests of these three offenders show our dedication to catching those who cross county borders in order to come into Lancashire to commit crime.
“It required an extensive investigation, with many inquiries made over 12 months, to put these three before the courts and this demonstrates the lengths we will go to bring criminals to justice.”