A masked man has been jailed again after police prevented a ram raid burglary at a store in a West Sussex village.
Alfie Smith was among an organised gang who used a stolen JCB to smash into the Co-Op in The Square, Barnham, in the early hours of 4 July.
But their plan to take the cash machine and its contents was scuppered as police swiftly responded to a report of a theft of a telehandler at a nearby yard.
Using local knowledge and suspecting the vehicle may be used for criminal activity, they carried out a search of known ATMs in the area, which led them to the scene.
As they arrived, two suspects were able to make off in a stolen vehicle, but Smith was detained following a short foot chase.
This footage shows the moments which led to the arrest of the 43-year-old, of Staines Road West, Ashford, Middlesex.
He was subsequently charged with trespassing with intent to steal and aggravated taking of a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, and remanded in custody.
He pleaded guilty to both offences and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court on 2 August.
However, the offence was committed while Smith was on temporary release from prison, where he was serving a 14-year sentence for a series of similar offences which he was convicted of in 2019.
He was therefore ordered to serve the remaining 10 years of that sentence on top (16 years total).
Investigating Officer Sam Doyle, of West Sussex CID, said: “This footage shows the clear intent by Smith and his associates to steal an ATM from a village store, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage in the process. They had clearly prepared for this operation in advance, but they hadn’t prepared for police to respond so quickly.
“I’d like to thank the numerous victims, witnesses and companies who provided statements and CCTV, which gave us vital evidence to secure Smith’s conviction.
“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the dedicated staff and officers who have been involved from the start of this fast-moving and multi-department investigation.
“I acknowledge the significant impact this incident would have had on residents in this small and quiet village, as well as the businesses that suffered financially.”
A spokesman for Veritech Security said: “Veritech Security provided security services to the construction site, including monitored CCTV and an emergency response service. Our state-of-the-art self-learning analytic CCTV system was able to provide an early warning that intruders were on our customer’s site.
“Our control room management quickly deployed the closest mobile response supervisor and contacted Sussex Police to inform them a theft was in progress. The offenders were able to drive a telehandler off site and shortly after were arrested by police whilst attempting to steal a cash point card machine.
“The following day, we provided Sussex Police with the high-quality footage required to support the conviction.
“We are extremely proud of the capabilities of our systems and the efficiency of our staff and Sussex Police, who carried out the arrests.”
A 37-year-old man from Aldershot in Hampshire was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit burglary and has been bailed until 5 October as the investigation continues.
Anyone with any information that could assist police is asked to report it online or call 101, quoting Op Milson.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.