Men found guilty of blowing up Hurstpierpoint cash point

Ermias Fekade, 37, and Joel Spears, 31, have been found guilty
Ermias Fekade, 37, and Joel Spears, 31, have been found guilty

Two men have been found guilty of blowing up a cash machine in Hurstpierpoint – along with a spate of ATMS across Sussex.

Ermias Fekade, 37, and Joel Spears, 31, were convicted of causing explosions and conspiracy to steal following a trial at Croydon Crown Court, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said.

A third defendant, Stephen Fahri, had already pleaded guilty to his role in the thefts.

Katie Samways from the CPS said: “This was a series of dangerous offences putting members of the public who lived in close proximity to the explosions in grave danger.

“The CPS was able to build a compelling case against these defendant’s using a variety of evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police.

“This evidence included forensics, mobile phone evidence and complex investigation techniques which ultimately lead to the defendant’s arrests.

“The common attributes of the offences included the similar early morning timing of the offences, the use of expensive sports cars as mission vehicle’s and all but one of the ATM’s being in post offices or garages.

“In total £150,000 worth of cash was stolen and similar amount of damage caused over the course of seven offences. Thankfully their eighth and final offence failed.”

Seven ATMs were successfully targeted at garages, post offices and a train station between January 31, and March 23, 2017.

Around £54,000 was stolen from a post office in Hurstpierpoint, the CPS said.

The trio were arrested nearby following a car crash.