POLICE have raided homes across Oxfordshire and neighbouring counties as the net tightens on a gang of ATM thieves. 

Thames Valley Police struck at 10 locations at dawn this morning with 250 officers involved in conducting searches and making arrests. 


Police seized a stolen firearm, drugs, cash, car parts, jewellery and power tools and arrested seven people, including a man and woman from Carterton and a boy from Faringdon.

WATCH: a tour of the some of the high profile supermarkets hit by ram-raid gang

The raids were made in connection with an ongoing investigation, named Operation Shire, into tracking a gang of thieves who have wreaked havoc in the county by stealing ATMs over recent months. 

Senior investigating officer detective inspector Jim Holmes, based at Banbury police station, said: “A lot of people don’t want to use chip and pin, they aren’t comfortable using card-less payments and they want to use cash.

“If you have a small town or village that has a shop in it with a cashpoint - that is a lifeline for lots of people.

“When that is removed it can cause significant disruption especially when there aren’t the transport links to local towns.

“The initial theft causes huge amount of damage. A lot of the stores are small, village owned and serve small parts of the community.

"The cost of re-installing the machine is significant and often they never come back."

ALSO READ: What it's like during a police raid - our reporter joins police 

Oxford Mail:

The seven suspects arrested were:

  • A 38-year-old man from Carterton arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle
  • A 31-year-old woman from Carterton arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice
  • A 17-year-old boy from Faringdon arrested on suspicion of burglary
  • A 39-year-old man from Cheltenham arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle
  • A 43-year-old man from Evesham arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle
  • A 53-year-old man from Evesham arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle
  • An 18-year-old man from Cheltenham arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle

Oxford Mail:

Up to £2million worth of damage is thought to have been caused in the smash-and-grab raids with Land Rovers used to ram supermarkets and rip ATMs off the wall. 

Among the incidents being investigated include thefts of cash points from Waitrose in Botley Road, Oxford, and Morrisons in Carterton, which both took place in March.

Homes in Carterton and Great Coxwell, near Faringdon, were among those raided along with others in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and West Mercia. 

Oxford Mail:

DI Holmes said he felt the rise in these types of crimes, seen both locally and nationally, was partly due to a 'proliferation' in the number of cash points.

He added: "They are everywhere and easy to find.

"I think it has been identified as quick and easy and is maybe perceived as a victimless crime, one the police won’t pay as much attention to.

"But these activities have clearly shown that we will."

He urged anyone with information to report it to police via 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Officers were continuing to search the sites for evidence for much of today but DI Holmes said he felt the early signs showed the force was 'making some significant steps froward.'

He believes the 'challenging' 11 month investigation is now succeeding in disrupting organised crime groups and sending a message to anyone thinking or engaging in criminality.