The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has welcomed the lengthy sentencing of a security officer who acted as the ‘inside man’ in a series of Cash-in-Transit heists, and very much hopes such stringent jail terms will play a major role in the reduction of such crimes being carried out.
Thomas Keane has been sentenced to 20 years behind bars for conspiracy to commit robbery and was one of six men jailed as part of Operation Riptide, a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) investigation into a number of ATM replenishment robberies in the Greater Manchester area conducted between September 2017 and April last year.
The BSIA’s intelligence sharing initiative, SaferCash, collaborated with GMP and G4S throughout the investigation.
The robberies were carried out by a sophisticated organised crime group who meticulously planned the violent crimes well in advance. The offenders used stolen vehicles with false number plates to approach Cash-in-Transit vans while officers were replenishing ATM machines at banks. Keane’s fellow conspirators* were jailed with sentences of up to 14 years.
A G4S employee, Keane was carrying out an ATM replenishment at the bank alongside his colleague when they were approached by three masked men and threatened with a sawn-off shotgun, a handgun and a machete. The security officers were forced to the floor, with the men making off with the stolen cash in a red Mini Cooper.
Keane at first appeared to be a victim of the robbery, but the court heard how he had in fact played a key role in the conspiracy, supplying information to his criminal associates regarding cash delivery times and locations. In return, he was promised a cut of the stolen cash.
Serious nature of the crimes
Detective Sergeant Rick Castley from GMP’s Serious Organised Crime Group said: “The lengthy sentences handed down reflect the very serious nature of the crimes committed by this group. The robberies were particularly violent in nature. Those men involved gave no thought to the honest and hard-working security officers and bank staff who were caught up in the incidents. The robberies were pre-planned and carefully considered, but they were clumsily executed. The gang left a trail of evidence linking them to the robberies.”
In addition, Castley commented: “Keane abused his position of trust at G4S and lined his pockets through deceit, but now he must face the next 20 years in jail and come to terms with the consequences of his actions. During this investigation, we worked closely with G4S and they have been incredibly helpful in assisting with our enquiries throughout. This end result is thanks to the efforts of our officers who carried out extensive enquiries and sifted through huge amounts of mobile phone data and records to gather the damning evidence which has secured the prosecutions and taken this group of dangerous men off the streets.”
Sarah Staff, head of SaferCash at the BSIA, observed: “Throughout this case, SaferCash worked in partnership with the investigation team and G4S. The outcome highlights the benefits of such collaboration. The level of violence being used in the execution of these crimes has a far-reaching effect for the security personnel involved. The comprehensive investigation run by GMP’s Serious Organised Crime Group has dismantled a well-organised gang, with the high sentencing a direct reflection of the serious nature of this conspiracy.”
Staff concluded: “The industry strongly believes that the length of sentencing will act as a deterrent to put a halt to these types of attacks.”
Unravelling of the conspiracy
The conspiracy began to unravel in the moments after the offenders robbed a Cash-in-Transit vehicle in Ramsbottom when the getaway car lost control fleeing the scene and the offenders were forced to flee on foot. Two men were seen by witnesses running from the vehicle and carrying the stolen cash cassettes. Two of the offenders were spotted hiding under a parked car and, following forensic testing by police, were identified by their fingerprints.
The remainder of the group’s members were identified by CCTV footage seized from the robberies, witness accounts, vehicle enquiries and evidence gathered from phone records. Following analysis of the phone records, it was shown that Keane was in regular and significant contact with the criminal gang, including on the days when the armed robberies took place.
*The following sentences apply:
Thomas Keane: 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery
Jack Pennington: 14 years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery
David Oxton: 14 years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery
Neil Callaghan: Sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery and given a further 12 months for an unrelated blackmail offence
Scott Holmes: 10.5 years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery
Lucas Dodd: 4.5 years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery