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BSIA welcomes lengthy sentences

27 February 2019

THE BRITISH Security Industry Association (BSIA) welcomes the lengthy sentencing of a security guard who acted as the 'inside man' in a series of cash in transit heists, and hopes such stringent jail terms will play a major part in the reduction of such crimes being carried out.

Thomas Keane was sentenced to 20 years in prison 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 between September 2017 and April 2018.

The BSIA's intelligence sharing initiative, SaferCash collaborated with the 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 guards were replenishing ATM machines at banks. Keane's fellow conspirators were jailed with sentences of up to 14 years.

Keane, a G4S employee, 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 guards were forced to the floor, and the men made 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, and in return he received a cut of the stolen cash.

Detective Sergeant Rick Castley, from GMP’s Serious Organised Crime Group, said, “The lengthy sentences handed down today reflect the very serious nature of the crimes committed by this group.

“The robberies were particularly violent in nature, and the men gave no thought to the honest and hard-working security guards and bank staff who were caught up in the incidents. The robberies were pre-planned and carefully considered, but they were clumsily executed and the gang left a trail of evidence linking them to the robberies.

“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 facing 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. Today’s 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, British Security Industry Association, said: “Throughout this case SaferCash worked in partnership with the investigation team and G4S and the outcome of this case highlights the benefits of collaboration.

"The level of violence being used in the execution of these crimes has a far reaching effect for the guards involved. The comprehensive investigation run by GMP Serious Organised Crime Group has dismantled a well organised gang and the high sentencing reflects the serious nature of this conspiracy.

“The industry strongly believes that the length of sentencing will act as a deterrent to put a halt to these types of attacks.” 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, carrying the stolen cash cassettes and two of the offenders were seen hiding under a parked car and, following forensic testing by police were identified by fingerprints.

The remainder of the group were identified by CCTV footage seized from the robberies, witness accounts, vehicle enquiries and evidence gathered from phone records. Following analysis of phone records, it was shown that Keane was in regular and significant phone contact with the criminal gang, including on the days the armed robberies took place.

The following sentences handed out were:

  • 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 and a half years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery and given a further 12 months for an unrelated blackmail offence.
  • Scott Holmes: 10 and a half years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery
  • Lucas Dodd: four and a half years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery