A man involved in an audacious plot to blow up and steal a cash machine containing nearly £60,000 from a Lake District supermarket has been jailed for almost four years.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how gas was pumped into the ATM at Booths' Victoria Street store in Windermere just after 1.30am on May 18, and ignited.
The subsequent explosion caused serious damage to the store and allowed crooks to remove cash machine cassettes containing £58,480 from the rubble before escaping.
Two getaway vehicles, a Subaru and a Seat travelling in convoy, set off a speed camera between Windermere and Kendal. Police later found both that Seat and a Peugeot crashed and abandoned.
Inside the Seat was a gas canister and rubber tubing and an ignition device, along with some stray £10 notes - the only money recovered. The Peugeot, it emerged, had been hired two days before the raid by 33-year-old Robert Foster. His DNA was found on a balaclava inside the vehicle and also on a mobile phone, which had made contact four hours before the burglary with another phone recovered from the Subaru.
Foster, of Oakerside Drive, Peterlee, County Durham, was arrested in August and pleaded guilty this afternoon to conspiracy to burgle. He was jailed for 46 months by Judge Nicholas Barker, who observed: "A significant among of money was stolen, a significant amount of damage was caused.
"Undoubtedly the premises were targeted. There was significant planning. The equipment that was used was sophisticated. This was a group or gang who had gone with this in mind."
Nobody else has been charged in connection with the crime, the court heard.