Gang blew up 18 ATMs in £100,000 raids and stole 10 trophies

Gang of thieves who blew up 18 ATMs in £100,000 raids and stole 10 trophies from horseracing museum including £75,000 Ascot Gold Vase are jailed

  • A gang has been jailed for 75 years after stealing ten horseracing trophies 
  • James ‘Jimmy’ Sheen’s firm also stole £100,000 by blowing up ATM machines
  • Six men were sentenced for their ‘audacious’ crimes at Oxford Crown Court 
  • Judge Michael Gledhill QC described the thefts as ‘committed and professional’

A gang of professional thieves who blew up ATMs and stole ten trophies from the National Horseracing Museum have been sentenced to nearly 75 years in prison.

Six members from the smash and grab gang led by James ‘Jimmy’ Sheen blew up 18 ATMs over a year and got away with £100,000 by dragging them out using high-powered 4x4s.

In May 2020, three members of the gang also smashed their way into the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket and walked out with 10 trophies, including the £75,000 Ascot Gold Vase.

Sentencing them at Oxford Crown Court on Friday, Judge Michael Gledhill QC labelled this Newmarket heist as the ‘most audacious in this lengthy list’ and said the crime demonstrated the gang’s ambition whilst sentencing the six men.

In May and June 2020, the gang also stole expensive agricultural machinery and arranged through a foreign contact to have them taken abroad.

Judge Gledhill described the thefts as ‘committed and professional’ but condemned their attitude to life which he described as ‘if it is there to be taken, we’re entitled to it’.

He described the gang’s desire ‘to obtain as much money as possible as quickly as possible, avoiding detection by the police and other authorities’.

Gang leader James Sheen, 37, of Headington, Oxfordshire, was jailed for 17 years and four months. He admitted conspiracy to cause explosions, conspiracy to burgle, burgling the Newmarket Horseracing Museum, theft of a Landcruiser in Aynho, attempted theft of a Mitsubishi in Horndean, using a stolen BMW and conspiracy to steal plant machinery.

And addressing the criminals in court, he told them: ‘You were completely indifferent to the effect of your actions on others, indifferent to the risk of injury from the explosions, indifferent to the cost of repairing the damage, indifferent to the financial loss to the owners of the buildings and the ATM machines.

‘You were not the least bit concerned as to the effect of the disruption to businesses, the effect of your crimes on the staff the loss to the insurance companies and the loss of amenities to members of the public.

‘You couldn’t care less. The attitude of each of you was fully focused on yourselves.

‘Your attitude was ‘what can I make out of the offending and how can I avoid being caught?’

‘You each chose to be a party to this serious organised crime group.

David Riley, 26, was Sheen’s trusted lieutenant. He was jailed for 17 years and three months after he admitted conspiracy to cause explosions, conspiracy to burgle, the Newmarket burglary, theft, and handling stolen plant machinery

Six members from the smash and grab gang led by James ‘Jimmy’ Sheen blew up 18 ATMs over a year and got away with £100,000 by dragging them out using high-powered 4x4s

‘Yes, you each played a different role in the organisation or group and a different role in the offences you committed but you all chose to participate. Not one of you was forced to take part.

‘Your approach was if it is there to be taken and can be take we’re entitled to take it.

‘That is your approach to life.’

He said the men had brought ‘shame and disgrace’ on themselves, their families and the travelling community of which they ‘said they were proud members’.

The leader of the gang, James Sheen, 37, of Headington, Oxfordshire, was jailed for 17 years and four months. 

Sheen admitted conspiracy to cause explosions, conspiracy to burgle, burgling the Newmarket Horseracing Museum, theft of a Landcruiser in Aynho, attempted theft of a Mitsubishi in Horndean, using a stolen BMW and conspiracy to steal plant machinery.

He has previous convictions for dishonesty and in 2010 got 14 years for a drive-by shooting.

Sheen’s trusted lieutenant David Riley, 26, of Redbridge, Oxfordshire, was jailed for 17 years and three months.

He admitted conspiracy to cause explosions, conspiracy to burgle, the Newmarket burglary, theft, and handling stolen plant machinery.

He also admitted having a mobile phone in prison.

The convicted burglar was described as having gone into the conspiracy with his eyes open.


Frenny Green, 33, a hired hand of no fixed address, was given an imprisonment sentence of 10-and-a-half years for his four nights’ worth of involvement in the conspiracy.

Frenny Green, 33, a hired hand of no fixed address, was given an imprisonment sentence of 10-and-a-half years for his four nights’ worth of involvement in the conspiracy. 

Green pleaded guilty on a basis to conspiracy to cause explosions and his 23 previous convictions include several for burglary.

Shane Harris, 32, of Charlbury, Oxfordshire, admitted conspiracy to burgle.

He was briefly involved in the drag-out conspiracy over three nights.

Jailing him for three years and four months, the judge said: ‘Learn your lesson and never come before these courts again.’


Jimmy Loveridge (left), 30, of Chobham, Oxfordshire, was jailed for 14 years and three months, while Paul Smith (right), 30, of Yateley, Oxfordshire, received 11 years and four months’ imprisonment

Jimmy Loveridge, 30, of Chobham, Oxfordshire, was jailed for 14 years and three months. 

Loveridge pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to steal plant machinery, attempted theft, using criminal property and the Newmarket Museum burglary.

Judge Gledhill said: ‘I regret to say that your criminal record is both appalling and is highly relevant.’

Together with his ‘partner in crime’ Paul Smith in late 2014, he was part of a gang that stole 60 trophies from the Red Bull Racing HQ near Milton Keynes and also smashed their way into shops to try and drag out ATMs.

Paul Smith, 30, of Hearmon Close, Yateley, received 11 years and four months’ imprisonment.

Mr Smith was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle, attempted theft and using a stolen BMW. He admitted conspiracy to steal plant machinery.

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