A senior police officer who helped put three armed robbers behind bars for smashing their way into a Warwickshire bank with a digger has welcomed their 40-year sentence.
Karl White, James Kennea and Leigh Barry have been jailed for a total of 40 years and six months for a string of robbery offences, including a raid on HSBC in Atherstone.
Det Insp Rob Harris said they were "dangerous" men who had been "motivated by greed".
These were a group of dangerous individuals motivated by greed who would stop at nothing to try and steal cash.
They were clearly intent on using extreme force, which included the use of a firearm, and after their actions at the HSBC in Atherstone it is a miracle no one was hurt as the staff inside the building were only inches from the collapsing wall.
We conducted a long and complex investigation to bring these offenders to justice, so I am very pleased with the result.
These convictions should send a clear message that we will be tenacious in our investigations and do everything in our power to protect the public from this sort of offending.
I would also like to reassure the public that these types of incidents are rare, and overall crime rates are falling.
Three armed robbers caused major damage to a Warwickshire bank when they ploughed through the back wall using an earth-moving digger.
Karl White, James Kennea and Leigh Barry have been jailed for a total of 40 years and six months for a string of robbery offences, including the raid on HSBC in Atherstone in June last year.
The digger had been stolen from a site in Leicestershire the day before the robbery, on June 11.
Four masked men - including the trio now behind bars - stormed into the bank through the hole in the wall. One of them was armed with a handgun.
They escaped in a blue BMW which had been reported stolen from Birmingham the day before.
This broke down a short distance away - so they car-jacked a silver Corsa, forcing a woman and her young child out of the vehicle and driving off in it.
The Corsa was found abandoned nearby shortly before 1.30pm.
Three men who used a digger to smash their way into a bank have been sentenced to a total of more than 40 years behind bars.
Karl White, James Kennea and Leigh Barry stole an earth-moving digger from a site in Leicestershire and used it to break into the rear of the HSBC in Long Street, Atherstone, Warwickshire.
Armed with what looked like a gun, four men - including the three men now in jail - stole around £6,000 from the building during the raid in June last year.
And when their stolen BMW escape car broke down, they hijacked a new one, forcing a mother and child to get out of their car.
White, aged 27, of Marie Close, Atherstone, and Kennea, 27, from The Radleys, Birmingham, were each sentenced to 18 years in prison for conspiracy to rob the bank, plus 10 years for conspiracy to rob G4S personnel and six years for possession of an imitation firearm, to run concurrently.
Barry, 28, of Ely Close, Birmingham, was sentenced to three years for aiding and abetting robbery, plus 18 months for robbing a William Hill bookies in Erdington in April of this year.
Three masked raiders armed with a baseball bat stormed into a Warwickshire off licence to steal cash - but only got away with three bottles of champagne.
The men, wearing balaclavas and dark clothing, threatened staff and demanded money but staff did not hand over any cash and they were forced to flee penniless.
They smashed a number of items in Drinks4U in Bridge View, Coleshill, before grabbing the bubbly and making their escape in a black car.
Police are now hunting witnesses to the raid, which happened at around 9pm on Thursday.
The Warwickshire and West Mercia police forces have moved a further step towards their goal of operating joint services.
They say their "strategic alliance" will help them to meet a funding shortfall of £30 million by 2015.
The forces are keeping both names and deny the changes are a merger. However, they could lose one of their chief constables and operate from a single control room in the future.
Andy Parker, Warwickshire Chief Constable, said the two forces will now be operating the same.
As well as warning motorists to take care, police officers have also warned farmers of their legal obligations to help keep roads safe.
It comes as officers warned of a seasonal increase in the number of accidents reported during the harvest.
Ch Insp Steve Owen, from Warwickshire and West Mercia Police's joint operations department, said legal action would be taken against anyone found to be breaking the rules.**
Every year we face problems with agricultural vehicles leaving large amounts of mud and debris on the roads during the harvest season.
While the majority of farmers take steps to ensure they keep the roads clear and safe, not all are as diligent.
We would like to remind farmers and contractors of their responsibilities under the Highways Act.
We have already taken action against offenders who haven’t complied with this legislation and will continue to take a tough stance against anyone who we believe is being reckless and irresponsible.
Farming vehicles should pull into lay-bys to let traffic pass during busy times, he said, and need to make sure their vehicles are clear of mud before hitting a public road.
Officers have also warned motorists to take extra care and avoid dangerous manoeuvres.
Slow-moving tractors and extra mud on road surfaces during harvest season means motorists need to take extra care on the region's rural roads, police have warned.
As farmers across the region prepare to harvest their crops, the Safer Roads Partnership run by Warwickshire and West Mercia Police revealed the increase in farming activity at this time of year traditionally leads to a surge in the number of accidents.
They say drivers often take unnecessary risks such as overtaking at inappropriate points or speeding, not leaving themselves enough time to stop if they unexpectedly come across a slow-moving tractor.
The amount of mud and other debris on the roads also increases, making the surface slippery and more difficult to stop on.
A former police constable has pleaded guilty to making indecent images of a child.
Warwickshire Police said Robert William Tedds also admitted five counts of outraging public decency when he appeared at Redditch Magistrates' Court today.
Tedds, of Grange Road, Leamington Spa, asked for ten other counts of outraging public decency to be considered.
The 58-year-old, who no longer works for Warwickshire Police, was bailed to appear for sentence at Worcester Crown Court on August 2.
Police have apologised to motorists tonight after closing the M6 motorway during peak time for the Bank Holiday getawayRead the full story ›
Warwickshire Police have admitted the theft of money from their former headquarters in Leek Wooton is 'hugely embarrassing' for the force.
54 year old retired officer, Paul Andrew Greaves, formerly of the Stratford area, will appear before magistrates in Leamington on May 22 charged with theft.
The theft of cash from Warwickshire Police was hugely embarrassing and a lengthy and painstaking investigation has been conducted. The charging of the suspect Paul Andrew Greaves was a major step forward and we now await the court process. Any police officer or police staff member who commits a crime can expect to be dealt with robustly and receive little sympathy from colleagues or the public alike.
Warwickshire Police were criticised for taking the decision not to name Mr Greaves after he was formally charged on Wednesday. The Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire has called for a review into the incident .
We advise forces, working with the CPS, to name those who have been charged and that position will not change. When an individual has been arrested our current guidance is not to name them and we will only release the name for the prevention or detection of crime, or if there is a serious public interest."