A bungling hole in the wall gang who used explosives to try and rob cash machines across south Bucks have been jailed.

Gica-Fanica Radu, 31, and 28-year-old Victor Coseru targeted five ATMs in central London, Kent, and Buckinghamshire in January and February this year.

Thames Valley Police were forced to bring in the bomb squad to check out the scene of the Bucks attacks.

Bucks Free Press:

Using a property in Ashford, Kent, as their base, each time the Romanian pair would travel by car to a site near to the M40 corridor and carry out the attacks during the nighttime.

They used explosive devices to break into the machines and try and steal cash.

But they left empty-handed after their first attempt in the early hours of January 18, at a Tesco store in High Wycombe.

A further three attempts in West Drayton, north west London, plus Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield in Bucks were flops - again the bungling thieves fled the scene with nothing.

Bucks Free Press:

The cash machine at Barclays Bank in Station Approach, Gerrard’s Cross was targeted at 4.35am on January 30.

Using the same method as before, a device was inserted into the cash machine and detonated.

Although it caused significant damage to the machine and building itself, they failed to break into the cash box and left without taking any money.

On this occasion, one of the thieves tried to then break into the bank and force open the safe door, but was unsuccessful.

On February 2, at 4.20am, they attempted to steal from a branch of Nationwide in The Broadway, Beaconsfield.

Coseru was seen at a shop in Ashford, Kent, buying a heavy duty axe, which was then used on February 7 as the pair tried their luck at a Co-op in the Kent village of Kennington, close to their base.

Bucks Free Press:

Their fifth and final attempt was successful. They stole the cash cassette, containing more than £35,000.

On the same day, a booking was made for Radu and Coseru to board a ferry from Dover to leave the country, however unknown to them, police were already onto them and they were arrested at the Port of Dover that afternoon.

Following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court, which ended today (FRI) Radu and Coseru were both found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and causing an explosion with intent and were jailed for 33 years, 18 years and 15 years respectively.

Senior investigating officer Det Insp James Derham said: "Our investigation showed that this pair had travelled into the country to steal from cash machines and it was their intention to escape as soon as they had some money from their criminal activities.

Bucks Free Press:

Gica-Fanica Radu

"There was a high level of planning and determination by these men, using explosive devices that have never been used for this crime type in the UK before.

"However despite this, it still took them five attempts before they managed to steal any cash and unfortunately for them, our officers arrested them just hours later as they attempted to flee the country."

Bucks Free Press:

Victor Coseru

"Our officers worked tirelessly to gather the evidence to identify the suspects, ensuring they were caught and brought before the courts."