Wigan's week in court

The latest round-up of those who have appeared before Wigan magistrates and in the dock at crown court.
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A drunken young Up Holland man's community punishment will include an alcoholism treatment programme after he attacked a police officer for the second time.

Byron Garner, of Mayfield Road, appeared before Wigan justices to plead guilty to assaulting PC Alexander McNamee, on November 14 last year during the course of the officer's duties in Skelmersdale.

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The hearing was told that he had previously assaulted another Skelmersdale constable in October 2021.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' CourtWigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

And when this latest offence was committed, Garner was the subject of a 12-month conditional discharge imposed by West Glamorgan magistrates in January 2022 for being drunk and disorderly in Swansea.

As well as a nine-month alcohol treatment programme, Garner must complete 20 days of rehabilitation activities and 80 hours of unpaid work as well as paying £199 to victim services and the court in costs.

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An organised crime group with links to the Wigan area who targeted at least 19 cash machines across England and Wales have been jailed for a combined total of 29 years.

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One of the stolen vehicles they used was found to be stored in a garage in Lowton, which the group thought was a safe location.

The four-strong gang - Lee Leatherbarrow, Crimea Price, Arthur Gaskin, and John Price - appeared at Liverpool Crown Court to be sentenced after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

The court heard how, between March 11 and July 7 last year, there were 19 incidents where supermarkets containing standalone ATMs - including one in Atherton - had been targeted sometime overnight.

It is estimated more than £500,000 in cash was stolen from machines during the spate of attacks.

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Cheshire Police's serious and organised crime unit launched an investigation in April 2022 following an ATM attack at a store on Longshaw Street, Warrington, during which attending police officers were “rammed” by the group as they fled the scene.

During their enquiries into the gang, named Operation Hades, officers identified links to offences spanning the width of the north of England down to the Midlands and crossing the border into North Wales.

On each occasion the gang would conduct a reconnaissance of the ATM machines, with one of the group using one of the machines in the weeks prior to the offence.

Once an exact location and day was identified, this would kickstart a specific chain of events.

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On the chosen day, the group would use mobile phones to communicate and co-ordinate a meeting place before they left these devices at home or at an agreed meeting point. This meant, or so they thought, officers couldn’t track their location through their mobile devices.

They then would use stolen vehicles, namely two BMWs and a Volkswagen Golf Type R to get to their rendezvous points – one of these vehicles was found to be stored in a garage in Lowton, Wigan.

In another bid to try and cover their tracks, they also used multiple cloned number plates relating to similar car makes and models.

They would then steal Ford Transit vans and follow in convoy with one of the other vehicles to travel direct to the store that was to be targeted.

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When at the location, the OCG would use power tools such as an angle grinder to gain entry to the stores, the members would then target the ATMs by dragging the machines out which caused huge damage, before loading up the stolen vehicles with cassettes containing cash.

Their downfall was when officers from Cheshire Police began a pursuit with the getaway BMW which reached speeds of up to 90mph in a 30mph zone, after the final burglary at a Co-operative store in the village of Moira, Leicestershire.

Members of the gang attempted to injure officers and stop the pursuit by throwing items such as a fire extinguisher and bricks out of the vehicles.

Once reaching an area of safety, officers performed a tactical stop on the vehicle resulting in the arrest of both the Prices and Gaskin.

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Inside the BMW, seven sets of number plates, four bottles of disinfectant, numerous bricks used to attack police and items stolen from the shop were discovered alongside a sledgehammer and circular saw.

Further enquiries led to a warrant being executed in St Helens with Leatherbarrow arrested – it wasn’t long after that all were then subsequently charged with conspiracy to commit burglary.

At the sentencing, Lee Leatherbarrow, 33, of Lascelles Street, St Helens, received seven years and six months imprisonment; Crimea Price, 32, of Southworth Road, Newton-le-Willows - eight years imprisonment; Arthur Gaskin, 35, of no fixed address - seven years and six months imprisonment and John Price, 27, of Newport Street, Burslem - six years imprisonment.

A teenager accused of being a drug dealer and stolen goods fence has walked free from court after the case against her collapsed.

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Bobbi-Jo Mayson, 18, of Rose Hill Avenue in Pemberton, had last year stood before borough justices to plead not guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply it on November 14 2020 and to having criminal property, namely designer clothing, on May 7 2021.

The case was sent to Bolton Crown Court for trial, but before it could start, the prosecution offered no evidence, the judge dismissed the case and told the defendant that she was free to go.