Men Jailed For Fruit Machine Robbery Spree

Three men have been jailed for a total of 17 years for a spate of fruit machine robberies across the UK.

Noel Lacey, from Sibdon Grove in West Heath, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years, and Adam Power, from Crychan Close in Hawksley, was jailed for six-and-a-half years.

The two men broke into 32 licensed premises from London to Staffordshire, including 10 in the West Midlands, before smashing open games machines with a lump hammer and stealing the contents. In total, the men are said to have stolen £30,000.

Their campaign began at Droitwich pub, The Copcut Elm, on 22 January where they forced open a side door and bagged £1,000 in coins; 15 minutes later they repeated this at The Golden Lion in Bromsgrove.

On January 26 they made off with £2,000 from fruit machines at the Unicorn in Alspath Lane, Coventry, and went on to attack pubs in Halesowen, Birmingham and Sandwell.

West Midlands Police captured the men when they laid in wait for them in the car park of the Man In The Moon pub in Essex in the early hours of 01 April.

A third man, 28-year-old Wayne Hawkins, from Hollybank Road in Billesley, admitted taking part in the last four raids and was jailed for three years.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Darren Brown, said: "All the break-ins were in the early hours of the morning... there was nothing sophisticated about their tactics, they forced open doors or windows before taking sledgehammers to games machines.

"But there was certainly a degree of planning: we seized CCTV from pubs in the days leading up to attacks that showed them casing up the venue, seeing what machines they had, and the best entry points. And they were always in and out within two minutes.

"Fearing we were on to them they started offending outside the West Midlands area – but we already had them in our sights and an operation on April 1 followed them to Essex where all three were arrested as they planned raid number 32.

"During several of the jobs they disturbed licensees sleeping upstairs and on one occasion attacked two staff members they encountered. They have rightly been handed significant jail sentences."


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