A Beckenham man who, along with four others, used an explosive mixture of gases to blow up an ATM machine has been jailed for six years.

Lee Spinks, 28, of Waverley House, Foxgrove Avenue, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to cause an explosion and causing an explosion at Woolwich Crown Court.

Danny Smith, 30, from Sheerness, Gary Smith, 39, from Tonbridge, Luke Cassidy, 28, from Maidstone, and Jason Selwood, 30, from Tonbridge, also pleaded guilty to various charges.

The charges followed three offences committed during November last year when branches of Barclays Bank in Kent were targeted.

On November 1, at around 2.13am, an explosion took place at the Riverhead branch of Barclays in Sevenoaks.

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Officers from Kent Police, alerted that the bank's security systems had been breached, arrived and found the ATM machine attached to the front of the bank severely damaged and the bank entered.

They also realised two cash cassettes containing £19,000 had been stolen.

An investigation was launched and CCTV seized.

Footage revealed a number of men placing tools around the premises before gas canisters were attached to the ATM machine and used to cause an explosion.

A hooded man then smashed his way into the bank with a sledgehammer and was followed by a second man in a baseball cap.

The incident lasted around 20 minutes before the men made off in a BMW car.

In mid-November detectives from the Met's Flying Squad began working alongside Kent detectives to identify and arrest the gang responsible.

On November 21 staff at the Borough Green branch of Barclays noticed the ATM machine wasn't working.

They checked CCTV and found two men were captured around 2.20am tampering with the machine and appearing to poke a large hose connected to a gas canister. This incident was linked to the robbery on November 1.

Enquiries into Spinks' movements found during October he was in contact with a number of companies that supply gas cylinders - these were the same type used to cause the explosion on November 1.

Officers found Spinks and Danny Smith travelled together during November when they purchased head torches and Velcro straps - the same kind used in the offence on November 21.

Spinks was arrested on November 11. He made no comment to all questions put to him. He was charged and remanded in custody.

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On November 28 at 2.35am, detectives saw a Nissan Note and an Audi A3 entering Borough Green. The Audi pulled off the main road and began roaming approach roads to the village while the Nissan went to the village branch of Barclays.

Gary Smith and Luke Cassidy, wearing balaclavas, head torches and carrying gas canisters were seen walking towards the bank. They were arrested.

Various paraphernalia was found placed outside the bank including a sledgehammer, a wrecking bar and gas canisters.

Danny Smith was arrested shortly after driving the Nissan. He was found to be wearing one latex glove and one fabric glove.

Jason Selwood was arrested at 3.15am driving the Audi towards Tonbridge.

Detective Inspector Mark Bedford, from the Met's Flying Squad, said: "This was an organised group of criminals who used an elaborate method to steal money from the bank.

"However the Flying Squad worked alongside our Kent colleagues to mount a quick-time proactive operation to identify and arrest them."