A GANG which organised a ram raid on Tesco in Kings Worthy is awaiting sentencing.

They pleaded guilty to masterminding 11 ram raids across Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex.

Jimmy Shea, 24, of Nursery Road, Alton; Les Keet, 29, of Cobbetts Close, Normandy; Eric Summerfield, 63, of Walnut Tree Close, Guildford; Melvyn Beech, 47, of Kingston Road, Leatherhead; and Jason Mobey, 40, of Macdonald Road, Farnham. admitted their roles at Hove Crown Court last Wednesday.

It relates to a spree of ATM thefts between May and December last year, including ram raids at Tesco Express in Springvale Road, Kings Worthy, Denmead, Alton, Bordon, Farnham, and East Horsley.

Following the ATM thefts, police arrested six people in a series of co-ordinated early-morning raids early on Thursday, December 20, involving 70 officers from across Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire.

Mobey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary (non-dwelling) and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Shea admitted conspiracy to commit burglary (non-dwelling).

Keet pleaded guilty conspiracy to commit burglary (non-dwelling) and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Summerfield admitted conspiracy to commit robbery.

Beech pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery.

Head of Serious Organised Crime for Surrey and Sussex, Det Supt Karen Mizzi said: “The guilty pleas heard in court yesterday have been as a result of a thorough investigation into organised crime in the area.

“Recent ATM thefts have posed a severe risk and danger to the public and it has a severe impact on rural communities who rely on these machines.

“I’m pleased that our team, coordinated with Sussex and Hampshire forces, were able to make the arrests. I want to reassure the public that we are taking these crimes very seriously and perpetrators will never be welcome in Surrey.

“Attacks on ATMs is a national issue and one affecting all forces at present. We are working hard with all of our neighbouring forces to ensure there is a joined up approach to catching offenders and establish if there are any links between crimes.”

The offending period extends from May 2018 to December 2018.

The men have been remanded in custody until they attend Hove Crown Court for sentencing on June 7.

The raids are not being connected with similar attacks at the petrol station at West Meon Hut and the attack on Lloyds Bank in Bishop's Waltham.

The city council has this month given permission for three anti-ram raid bollards at Tesco Express on Springvale Road, Kings Worthy.