Gang leader from Dearham back in jail after breaching Serious Crime Prevention Order

Maurice Smith has 67 offences to his name including burglaries, drug supply and throwing contraband into a prison. Credit: Cumbria Police

A man from West Cumbria who masterminded a plot to raid cash machines across the county is back in jail.

Maurice Smith, 66, from Dearham led a gang who were convicted in 2019 after detectives uncovered a criminal conspiracy which ran for a year.

One cash machine was stolen and several others in towns across north and west Cumbria were the subject of dramatic failed attacks.

Gang members carried out reconnaissance before a tractor and digger were stolen and used to ram shops as the thieves tried to steal money during smash-and-grab raids.

Smith admitted conspiracy to steal and was jailed for four years by a judge who handed down prison terms totalling almost four decades to eight gang members.

Smith was also handed a serious crime prevention order (SCPO) with strict conditions attached in a bid to protect the public from any further offending.

The judge ordered Smith’s SCPO to run for five years following his release from custody.

Carlisle Crown Court heard on Thursday 2 February that he breached the order seven times after coming to the attention of police in late November 2022.

On five occasions he failed to provide valid insurance documents after he was linked to four vehicles.

He was also found in possession of an angle grinder and other cutting tools which the SCPO banned him from owning.

Prosecutor Tim Evans said Smith, a man with 67 offences to his name including burglaries, drug supply and throwing contraband into a prison, could "properly be described as a career criminal".

Smith admitted the breaches but claimed the tools belonged to someone else.

Judge Guy Mathieson imposed a 12-month immediate prison sentence, concluding the breaches had been a "learning curve" as Smith sought to comply with the order and was seeking to do better.

Judge Mathieson told him: "The problem is that if these matters (breaches) are noted by police there is a belief, whether justified or not, that you may well be up to no good all over again."

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