Four men have been jailed for their part in a series of burglaries which targeted cash machines and safes in Farnworth, Bury and Tyldesley.

Three of the men stole almost £170,000 from two cash machines during the burglaries.

The first burglary took place in February 2018, when more than £109,000 was stolen from a cash machine.

Burglars deactivated an alarm and used an angle-grinder to break into the machine, in Elliot Street Tyldesley.

Steven Lee Hargreaves, 42, of Dalton Drive, Pendlebury was jailed for four years and two months after CCTV linked him to the burglary.

Telephone intelligence also linked two other men to the same crime.

Joshua Luke Doyle, 28, of Oaklands Road, Salford, was jailed for four years and six months. Jordan Taylor, 24, of Windsor Road, Moston, was jailed for three years.

A month later, £58,660 was stolen from a cash machine during a burglary at a shop in Higher Market Street,Farnworth.

With the thieves using similar cutting equipment.

Telephone evidence linked Hargreaves and Doyle to the second crime.

Hargreaves was arrested the following day at his girlfriend’s address, where a stolen vehicle was also found. Inside the vehicle were angle grinders, drills and crowbars.

Evidence also linked Doyle to a third burglary committed in the early hours of July 13, at a public house in Bury where the office safe was stolen.

Later that day police found the safe in Middleton. Its concrete base had been smashed and the back of the safe had been removed.

Paul Frater, 33, of Alnwick Road, Blackley, was arrested close by as he tried to escape by climbing over a garden fence. He had £500 in cash stuffed in his socks.

Fraser was jailed for two years and two months.

Speaking after sentencing at Manchester Crown Court in Minshull Street, Detective Sergeant Richard Castley from GMPs Serious Organised Crime Group, said: “These men thought they could simply steal tens of thousands of pounds and just walk away. Although they thought they had planned their burglaries well, in reality they left evidence behind and a trail of clues for police officers to follow.

“We work tirelessly to analyse telephone intelligence and CCTV in order to bring groups of dangerous individuals to justice and I welcome today’s sentences which will take these men off our streets for a long time.”

The prosecutions followed a joint investigation between police and the intelligence security service, Safercash.

Sarah Staff, Head of SaferCash, British Security Industry Association, said: “This comprehensive investigation run by GMP’s Serious Organised Crime Group has dismantled a well organised gang. Cash is still an important payment method used widely across the UK. These crimes are impacting on our local high streets and the access of cash which is vital within communities and should be easily accessible. The industry strongly believes that these types of investigations will act as a deterrent to reduce the number of ATM attacks.

“Throughout this case SaferCash worked in partnership with the investigation team and Cardtronics UK and the outcome of this case highlights the benefits of collaboration”.

Two other men received suspended prison sentences.

Martin Leo Chubsey, 34, of Sandy Lane, Middleton was seen running away from the scene of the Bury burglary.

Officers also discovered angle-grinding discs, sledgehammers and the backing for a safe in the garden of Reece Clegg, 25, of Tonge Roughs, Middleton.

Chubsey received a 20 month jail sentence suspended for two years and Clegg received an 18 month prison sentence suspended for two years.