FIVE men involved in an organised crime group which targeted cash machines across the country, including in Malvern and Droitwich, have been jailed.

It is believed the group made more than £1,000,000 and caused more than £200,000 worth of damage after they attacked ATMs between June 2017 and September 2018.

The group used specialist cutting equipment, stolen from fire stations, to force entry into stores and attack the cash machines.

In the incident in Malvern, the gang attacked a member of the public who witnessed them attacking a store and a police officer had his vehicle rammed as he pursued the men.

The jail sentences came after an investigation led by West Mercia Police's Serious and Organised Crime Unit.

Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Kinrade said: "The offenders were part of an organised crime group responsible for a string of ATM attacks across the UK which netted them a considerable amount of cash. The gang were motivated by greed and gave no consideration to the damage and destruction they left behind.

"These crimes had a huge impact on the local community with many of the cash machines the group targeted the only source of withdrawing cash for people in the area, some of which haven't been replaced. Not only that, the group were prepared to use violence to commit the offences and stole vital specialist life-saving equipment from fire stations with total disregard to the public.

"This was a complex and challenging investigation and I would like to congratulate my team for bringing the matter to a successful conclusion. I would also like to thank colleagues at the other police forces who supported our investigation and assisted in collating evidence."

The group committed their offences in ten police force areas including West Mercia.

In West Mercia, Albrighton and Newport Fire Stations were targeted and ATMs attacked in Ludlow, Droitwich, Bromsgrove, Malvern, Whitchurch and Tenbury Wells.

The men were sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to burgle and converting criminal property. Khan also pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property.

Michael Solomon Stubbs, 32, of Asheridge Close, Wednesfield, has been sentenced to six years, eight months.

Noel Anthony Reilly, 39, of Wychall Lane, Birmingham, has been sentenced to seven years, six months

Martin Steadman, 24, of Luce Road, Low Hill, Wolverhampton has been sentenced to seven years, six months.

Mohammed Maneer Khan, 31, of Great Hampton Street, Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton has been sentenced to four years, ten months.

Marcus Burton, 33, of May Farm Close, Hollywood, Birmingham, has been sentenced to five years, ten months.

Serious Crime Prevention orders were also granted against Steadman, Stubbs, Reilly and Burton. These will place a number of restrictions on the defendants when they are released from prison and are designed to protect the public.