RAM raiders who escaped with an ATM machine containing £80,000 in cash were jailed for a total of more than 20 years.

The gang of five used a 4x4 vehicle to smash their way into a Co-op store.

Gareth James, 37, Mark Hayter, 32, both of Ebbw Vale, Gavin Jordan, 38, and Tony Smith, 25, both of Nantyglo and John Hearne, 24, of Stourport-on-Severn, were sentenced at Merthyr Crown Court.


James was sent to prison for three years and four months, Hayter for four years, Jordan for five years, Smith for three years and four months and Hearne for five years.

South Wales Argus:

Gareth James

The offence happened in Treharris, Merthyr Tydfil, in the early hours of May 14.

The five masked raiders were unaware the cashpoint was fitted with a secret tracking device which led police to their hideaway near Abergavenny.

The money was being “divvied up” when officers swooped to arrest the gang and seize a bin bag packed with £20 and £10 notes.

South Wales Argus:

Gavin Jordan

A jury was shown dramatic video of the gang reversing the into the Co-op store.

Prosecutor Alex Greenwood said: “The peace of Treharris village was interrupted by an audacious criminal enterprise.

“It was a highly-organised burglary to remove the ATM from the Co-op store.

South Wales Argus:

Mark Hayter

“A masked criminal gang reversed a Mitsubishi pick-up into the front of the shop. 

“Straps were attached to the machine and the pick-up drove off dragging it down the street with sparks flying off it."

The ATM was transferred into a white Transit van and driven to a Llanellen Court Farm, Abergavenny, where it was hidden in a wooden shed.

South Wales Argus:

Tony Smith

Mr Greenwood told Merthyr Tydfil crown Court: “The ATM had been filled that day and contained £80,150.

“But unbeknown to the burglars the cash machine was fitted with a tracking device and police were on their way to the farm.”

Officers from South Wales and Gwent Police carried out the raid along with a helicopter and dog handler.

Three of the gang ran off but were caught hiding in a hedge. Two others were arrested at the scene.

South Wales Argus:

John Hearne

Four of the men admitted burglary but a fifth, Hayter, 32, denied being involved in the raid. 

Police found five pairs of black gloves and a balaclava in the glove compartment of a vehicle at the farm and four more black balaclavas were found at Hayter’s home.

Glass particles found on the balaclavas matched shattered glass from the shopfront of the Treharris Co-op.

Mr Greenwood told the jury: “Five men were involved, four pleaded guilty. The prosecution say the fifth man is Mark Hayter.

“He was present the following morning accessing the machine in order to divvy up the proceeds of the previous night’s burglary.”

Hayter claimed he wasn’t involved in the ram raid and had no knowledge of the money or how it was being split.

He denied burglary and handling stolen goods but was found guilty by a majority verdict of 10-2.

Judge Daniel Williams jailed the men for a total of 20 years and eight months saying each gang member had played their part in a highly-organised crime.