TWO crooks involved in a daring smash-and-grab cashpoint raid on a South Cumbria convenience store have been sent to prison.
Michael James Campbell, 37, and 30-year-old Jason Brazauskas were members of a four-strong gang which targeted a McColl’s shop at The Square in Milnthorpe during the early hours of January 10.
In the run-up to the ram-raid, a JCB digger was stolen from a farm at Lupton and a Mitsubishi L200 taken from a business compound in the Ulverston area.
One witness then watched at around 3-30am as the telescopic arm of the JCB was used to destroy the McColl’s shop front and remove a cash machine containing almost £92,000. This was loaded on to the back of the Mitsubishi, which had been crudely modified for the crime.
Two nearby vehicles were also damaged before the four criminals fled the scene, taking the cashpoint away. It was found abandoned, in tact and with the cash still inside in a muddy field at Gressingham, east of Carnforth.
County Durham-based duo Campbell, of Wooley Meadows, Stanley Crook, and Brazauskas, of Church Street, Toronto, Bishop Auckland, were arrested nearby and linked to the raid by damning evidence, although the two other people involved were never traced.
Campbell and Brazauskas were sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court having admitted burglary, taking two vehicles without consent, and two counts of criminal damage. Both were jailed for three years by Judge Peter Davies, who heard how the crime had a “devastating” impact on the business.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Charlotte Nutter said: “This was a crime that had a large impact on the community as it was such a visible and destructive incident.
“But we were able to catch these men soon after the burglary and the evidence of the investigation was such they have now pleaded guilty.
“We welcome the sentences handed out and hope they act as a strong deterrent to anybody thinking they can target Cumbria or carry out this type of crime.”