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Men blew up cash machines at Barclays, Sainsbury's and Tesco with TNT and stole £35,000

A duo blew up cash machines and made off with £35,000 following a series of potentially lethal explosions.

Victor Coseru, 27, and Gica-Fanica Radu, 30, were arrested trying to flee the country with a cut of money following a heist in Kennington, Ashford.

The Co-op in Faversham Road, Kennington
The Co-op in Faversham Road, Kennington

Both men today were found guilty of conspiring to detonate explosives inside a number of ATMs.

TNT was discovered on Coseru’s bracelet and wire-cutters in the boot of their Audi - they were also found to be in possession of £2,600.

The Romanian nationals had come to the UK on the premise of buying vans.

Judge James O'Mahoney dubbed the evidence "overwhelming" and warned the pair to expect long spells in jail.

“What you were using was materials generally associated with battles and warfare and missiles

"You face very long sentences indeed.

Police at the scene
Police at the scene

“You didn’t come here to buy vans you came here with a campaign to blow up cash machines and take cash," he said.

Coseru denied playing any part in the five raids, however, Radu admitted burglary but denied using explosives at a previous hearing.

Radu, who was previously convicted of a similar crime, argued he was merely the gang’s driver and lookout.

The father-of-two told a jury he was enlisted by crooks called Sanu, Meesha and “The Indian”.

He claimed these men raided four machines in Buckinghamshire earlier this year and then Co-op in Kennington during the early hours of February 7.

"You talk about soft, hard and weights, and you say this is about breast implants for your mistress, you’re married, and this is a conversation with you brother in law?" — Prosecutor Martin Yale

No explosives were used, he told Canterbury Crown Court.

But prosecutor Martin Yale said phone records clearly linked both men, who lived at the same Ashford address during the time of raids, to the crimes.

Evidence of explosives were also discovered at a number of the crime scenes.

Mr Yale highlighted Whatsapp messages referring to explosives between Radu and his ‘brother-in-law.’

But the defendant argued the messages referred to “silicon implants for his mistress” and not explosives, prompting an unusual exchange with the prosecutor.

"You wouldn’t be talking about breast implants for your mistress with your brother-in law.

"You talk about soft, hard and weights, and you say this is about breast implants for your mistress, you’re married, and this is a conversation with you brother in law?

"Your wife’s brother?” asked Mr Yale.

"Yes," Radu replied.

Radu maintained texts describing the raids in first person were “just me bragging to my wife”, rather than a true depiction of the crimes.

The attacks happened in quick succession between January and February this year, the court heard.

Barclays, Tesco and Sainsbury's were targeted, however, there was a lull after Coseru left the country, Mr Yale explained.

“This is relevant because the attacks happened as soon as Mr Coseru returned to the country,” he added.

Both men, formerly of Luddenhan Close, were unanimously found guilty of conspiring with others to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property.

Radu, represented by John Barker, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary between May 31 last year and February 8.

Coseru, represented by Kieran Brand, was also found guilty today of conspiring with others to commit burglary during the same dates.

They will be sentenced this Friday.

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