FIVE members of a ramraid gang have been given jail sentences totalling more than 30 years for a series of professional burglaries at commercial premises across West Yorkshire.
The robbers targeted shops and businesses in a 12-month crime spree - including raids at shops in Berry Brow, Honley and Thornhill.
The ruthless gang's crime spree ended in August 2004 when they were all arrested following their final attack on a Co-op store in Thornton Road, Bradford.
But the city's crown court heard yesterday that by then they had got away with more than £80,000 in property and caused £90,000 worth of damage.
The gang had targeted cash machines in several of their burglaries and prosecutor Andrew Dallas revealed that they would have stolen a further £70,000 in cash had they managed to escape with the automatic telling machine (ATM) they had pulled out of a another Co-op store in Mapplewell near Barnsley.
Their getaway vehicles were pursued by police following that raid and the gang were eventually forced to abandon the cash machine and flee on foot into the nearby woods.
Gary Nudds, 39, of Brooksbank Avenue, Scholemoor, Bradford, John Fish, 29, of Tyersal Hall Farm, Tyersal Lane, Bradford, Daniel Walker, 26, of Longfield Drive, East Bowling, Bradford and Nudds' 31-year-old brother-in-law Anthony Farrer, of Ramsden Avenue, Lidget Green, Bradford, were all jailed for eight years after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglaries between January and August 2004.
A fifth man, Shaun Smith, 29, whose address was not disclosed because of fear of reprisals, was jailed for three-and-a-half years after he admitted the same charge.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall was told Smith and his family face reprisals because of his assistance to the police and there was some question about whether he would be able to keep his present identity.
The judge said the gang had used "massive and destructive" force during the raids. He branded them a ruthless and professional team.
The court heard that not all of the gang had been involved in every burglary, but the judge said he took the view there were no "part-time members".
"From Mr Smith's statement it is clear that you worked as a team from the outset. It is clear ... that these offences were carefully planned. Appropriate equipment was chosen and each offence was ruthlessly executed.
"You were equipped to thwart the police and I shudder to think what would have happened had the police been able to chase you.
"This was blatant professional offending by a criminal gang."
Mr Dallas said the men were all members of a team of professional burglars who were responsible for 15 attacks on shops and other commercial premises.
One of the gang's most successful raids was a ram-raid attack on a Costcutters store in Berry Brow, Huddersfield, back in January 2004 when they wrenched an ATM from its bolts and stole the machine with £18,870 inside it.
During that burglary a stolen tipper truck was smashed into the front of the shop and after cables were used to pull out the ATM it was manhandled into another vehicle and driven away.
The following month the gang stole more than £1,000 worth of tools from Manningham Concrete in Bradford and in March 2004 they tried to steal another cash machine from the Co-op store in Honley, Huddersfield.
This time the gang were disturbed and in Smith's statement to the police he revealed later how they had taken nails with them which had been thrown on to the road to impede any pursuing police vehicles.
A week later the gang targeted a cash machine at a Spar supermarket in Thornhill, Dewsbury, but again the raid went wrong and they were forced to leave behind the ATM with £17,000 inside it.
In July 2004 another attack on a Co-op cash machine in Gildersome ended in failure, but the following month the gang forced their way into a Co-op in Oxenhope where they stole £7,100 worth of cigarettes.