Three men have been jailed for a total of over 10 years for their part in thefts from ticket machines on Manchester Metrolink at the end of 2017. 25 machines were broken into on six separate occasions with more than £13,000 in bank notes stolen and a total repair bill of nearly £140,000.
Michael Gavin, aged 42, was sentenced to five years and four months for consipiracy to steal and possession of a bladed acrticle, David Rodgers, 43, was jailed for five years for conspiracy to steal and Paul Higham, 40, got two and a half years for conspiracy to steal. All three pleaded guilty to the offences.
The men were involved in a systematic spree of thefts over six days in December 2017 – 2nd, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10 and 11th with 25 different machines targeted. It was during the last theft on 11th December that they were arrested after being spotted on CCTV at Crumpsall at 0430. Police – who had responded to the previous break-in at Heaton Park a few moments earlier – quicky responded and detained the three men.
Danny Vaughan, TfGM Head of Metrolink, commented: “These planned and orchestrated thefts from ticket machines are not a victimless crime, but caused inconvenience to customers, worry to those living near to stops, and significant financial cost to TfGM. We adopt a range of tactics to prevent things like this happening, including enhanced security features on machines, frequent emptying and overt and covert patrols and surveillance. We were able to catch these men in the act and these sentences and our security measures should act as a strong deterrent and proof that any perceived opportunity is far outweighed by the risk and consequence. We are committed to preventing incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour on our transport networks and ensuring a safe and pleasant journey for customers. While incidents continue to be rare when compared with the number of people that use our buses, trams and trains, our work as part of the TravelSafe Partnership ensures this remains the case.”