A SMASH and grab gang’s attitude to life was that ‘if it is there to be taken we’re entitled to take it’, a judge blasted.

Jailing the six members of James ‘Jimmy’ Sheen’s firm to almost three quarters of a century at Oxford Crown Court this afternoon, Judge Michael Gledhill QC described the thefts as ‘committed and professional’.

FULL STORY: Prosecution sets out the case against Oxfordshire gang that targeted ATMs and farm equipment

Over a year, the gang terrorised the Home Counties, blowing up 18 ATMs and getting away with £100,000 before moving on to dragging them out using high-powered 4x4s. In May and June 2020, they stole expensive agricultural machinery and arranged through a foreign contact to have them taken abroad.

In what the judge labelled the ‘most audacious crime in this lengthy list’, three members of the gang smashed their way into the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket in May 2020 and walked out with 10 trophies, including the £75,000 Ascot Gold Vase.

Oxford Mail: James 'Shimmy' Sheen Picture: TVPJames 'Shimmy' Sheen Picture: TVP

Sentencing the six men, Judge Gledhill said the Newmarket heist demonstrated the gang’s ambition.

“[That was] to obtain as much money as possible as quickly as possible, avoiding detection by the police and other authorities,” he said.

“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 focussed on yourselves.

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

READ MORE: Full story of how Jimmy Sheen's gang of ATM thieves were caught by Oxfordshire police

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

READ MORE: The case against gang that blew up 18 ATMs across the Home Counties


Leader James Sheen, 37, of Warren Crescent, Headington, 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.

The judge jailed him for 17 years and four months.

Trusted lieutenant David Riley, 26, of Linkfield Lane, Redbridge, 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 and received 17 years and three months’ imprisonment.

Hired hand Frenny Green, 33, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty on a basis to conspiracy to cause explosions. His 23 previous convictions include several for burglary. His four nights’ worth of involvement in the conspiracy earned him a sentence of 10-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

Shane Harris, 32, of Hughes Close, Charlbury, 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.”

Oxford Mail: Shane Harris, David Riley, Frenny Green Picture: TVPShane Harris, David Riley, Frenny Green Picture: TVP

‘Muscle’ Jimmy Loveridge, 30,  of Chertsey Road, Chobham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to steal plant machinery, attempted theft, using criminal property and the Newmarket Museum burglary. He was jailed for 14 years and three months, shouting encouragement to the public gallery as he was taken from the dock.

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.

Oxford Mail: Paul Smith and Jimmy Loveridge Picture: TVPPaul Smith and Jimmy Loveridge Picture: TVP

Paul Smith, 30, of Hearmon Close, Yateley, was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle, attempted theft and using a stolen BMW. He admitted conspiracy to steal plant machinery. He received 11 years and four months’ imprisonment.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward