Published: 16:55, 09 September 2019
| Updated: 19:24, 09 September 2019
Two blundering hole-in-the-wall raiders, who tried to blow up an ATM in Paddock Wood, have both been sent to prison
Tommy Beaney, 22, and William Samuel, 36, used a stolen acetylene gas cylinder from PJS Industrial Supplies in Sittingbourne between April 6-8 this year.
They had planned to fill the ATM with gas and then pocket the cash when it exploded - even though it could have endangered resident living nearby.
Maidstone Crown Court heard how five weeks later the two stole a Subaru Impreza in Wadham, East Sussex to use as their 'mission vehicle' on the botched raid.
Prosecutor Patrick Dennis said the car was stolen about eight miles from the Nationwide ATM, in Paddock Wood.
At 12.38 am on May 17 the Subaru with Beaney and Samuel inside was driven into Commercial Road, where it mounted the kerb outside Nationwide Building Society.
He said: "The defendants - both wearing gloves and masks -then exited the Subaru and approached the ATM. They then moved away, got back in the Subaru before driving away.
"However 16 minutes later they returned with the stolen acetylene canister which was connected to a hose."
Beaney then pushed a hose from the gas tank inside the ATM before driving away expecting the gas to blow up the machine.
Mr Dennis added: "Samuel meanwhile was crouched down inside a doorway close to the ATM in readiness for the explosion.
"At this point the defendants were expecting the ATM to explode thereby releasing the cash inside it. Samuel would then collect the money before running back to the Subaru which Beaney would drive to escape."
The would-be robbers then twice tried to blast their way into the machine but, despite causing a bang, failed each time.
A nearby resident was woken up by a loud bang and looked out of the window and saw the Subaru.
The prosecutor added: "He saw one of the defendants get back into the vehicle before it drove off. He could see that one of the ATM machines was flashing as “out of order”.
"He phoned the police but then witnessed the Subaru return to the ATM which is located in a parade of six shops and six flats.
Explosives expert Paul Ryder later concluded the defendants pumped in flammable gas into the ATM machine with the aim of igniting it to cause an explosion.
The prosecutor said: "He concludes that such an explosion would be extremely reckless and the damage caused by such an explosion could not readily be predicted.
"He states that the lives of anyone in the nearby vicinity of the ATM would be endangered at the point of ignition by the subsequent blast and material fragments produced."
The court heard how it took an engineer a couple of days to fix the damage which costs thousands of pounds.
Two police officers spotted the defendants in the Subaru in nearby Elm Street Public House car park but they escaped before they could be arrested
The Subaru was then crashed through two farmer's gates before being abandoned in a field.
A police dog called Nelson was brought in and tracked the scent to a static caravan where the two were hiding underneath.
The prosecutor added: "What is clear is the defendants had the equipment necessary to cause an explosion and this was professional, sophisticated criminality notwithstanding they were ultimately unsuccessful."
Samuel was jailed for six years and four months and Beaney for five years and six months.
The two men, both of West Wood RoadStockbury, admitted conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to cause an explosion.
More by this authorPaul Hooper