Ringleader admits role in explosive ATM raids

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THE RINGLEADER of a five-man gang who plotted to blow up cash machines in Farnham and Headley, as well as burgle homes and businesses across Hampshire, Surrey and Dorset, has admitted his guilt.

David Patrick ‘Paddy’ Hughes, 30, of Street End Close, Hook, admitted conspiring to steal, burgle and cause explosions at Winchester Crown Court on Friday, October 1.

It relates to a five-month crime spree between August 2019 and January 2020.

Cashzone in Headley was targeted on August 22, 2020, followed by Costcutter in Willow Way, Hale (pictured), three days later on August 25.

Speaking to the Herald after the Hale raid, Costcutter manager Rajadurai Sasitharan said he and his wife were woken in the middle of the night by a “big bang that sounded like a bomb”.

Other raids linked to the gang took place in Petersfield, Godalming, Southampton, Waterlooville, Fareham, Brockenhurst, Eastleigh and Bournemouth.

Four other men have also entered guilty pleas for their role in the £1.2 million conspiracy:

? Cameron Chivers, 23, of Lydgate Road, Southampton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life, to steal and burgle.

? Colin Golding, 25, of Reading Road, Farnborough pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life and to steal.

? Adam Jones, 30, of Little Abshot Road, Fareham pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life, to steal, burgle and a RIPA Act offence (refusing to reveal a PIN code to a device).

? Jesse Matthews, 19, of Coniston Road, Bordon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life, to steal and to burgle.

Golding was accidentally released from prison while awaiting sentencing last month after an “admin error”, prompting a county-wide manhunt.

A date for sentencing for all five gang members will be set in “due course”, the court heard.