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 From top left clockwise: Wade Gwyther, Matthew Parsons, Mitchell Barnes and Kyle Joyner.


From top left clockwise: Wade Gwyther, Matthew Parsons, Mitchell Barnes and Kyle Joyner.

A criminal gang has been jailed for more than 25 years after blowing up ATMs plus stealing a car and cas canisters in Bristol, Clevedon and Portishead.

Mitchell Barnes, Wade Gwyther, Kyle Joyner and Matthew Parsons were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Monday.

On May 11, 2016, they stole a car in Portishead and used it to ram a garage in Clevedon. The thieves stole gas canisters from there to blow up a cash machine in Yate.

Similar explosions were carried out in Shirehampton and Winterbourne in the weeks before.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Iddon said: “This sentencing of an organised crime gang responsible for blowing up ATMs highlights our success in apprehending criminals determined to do whatever it takes to steal money.

“The arrogance of these men, in particular of Parsons, meant they thought they could get away with what they were doing. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

“As with the other gangs willing to put lives at risk by using highly explosive gas to attack cashpoints in the Avon and Somerset area, the judge has handed out significant sentences which reflect the nature of their crimes and which I hope act as a further deterrent to others.”

Barnes, aged 22, and Joyner, aged 23, of Wroughton Drive in Hartcliffe, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to cause an explosion. They received sentences of five and seven-and-a-half years respectively.

Gwyther, aged 22, of Kenmare Road in Knowle, was found guilty of the same offence by a jury and was jailed for 10 years.

Parsons, aged 27, was jailed for five years at a previous hearing, although he has another 10 years’ worth of sentences for similar crimes in 2015.

Det Ch Insp Iddon said: “Since the start of last year, we have been working closely with the ATM industry to make it harder for criminals to steal money.

“More ATMs across the force area have been fitted with equipment designed to stop these kinds of attacks from happening, including armoured plating, while many also now have forensic water dispersal units installed which spray offenders with an indelible liquid.

“These measures either make the cash cassettes harder to access or make it easier to identify those involved in such attacks and I think they have had a noticeable effect.”

North Somerset Times

A convicted football hooligan has admitted his involvement in an attack where a bacon sandwich was thrown at a Bristol mosque.

Kevin Crehan, 34, of Stockwood Crescent, Knowle, was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence following the incident at Jamia Mosque in Green Street, Totterdown, last month.

In a five minute hearing at Bristol Crown Court he pleaded guilty to the charge, accepting a religiously aggravated offence to cause Nasir Ahmed harassment, alarm or distress.

Judge Martin Picton adjourned his case, pending a probation report, until March 24.

He bailed Crehan on condition he co-operates with the probation service.

Crehan’s bail also prevents him from going on the pavement outside, or within the boundaries of, any mosque in England and Wales.

The judge told him: “You have to understand this case carries custody.”.

On Sunday, January 17, a flag was said to be hung on a fence outside the mosque stating: “No mosque wanted here” and “Bristol United Patriots”.

Elderly worshippers attending the mosque were abused and bacon was thrown.

Self-styled anti-Muslim group, Bristol United Patriots, operate across the city but have publicly denied having anything to do with the attack.

It is not Crehan’s first brush with the law, which has included assaulting a police officer.

In 2010 he was sentenced to seven months in prison for breaching a three year football banning order.

At the time Bristol Crown Court heard the then 28-year-old was caught with a sawn-off pool cue down his trousers.

Crehan admitted four breaches which included failing to report to a police station during the World Cup and being inside an exclusion zone before a Bristol City versus Milwall match.

The court heard he had been banned from being within a mile of Bristol City’s Ashton Gate ground.

Crehan pleaded guilty to having an offensive weapon and stealing a DVD.

Regarding the mosque attack Alison Bennett, 46, Mark Bennett, 48, both of Spruce Way, Patchway and Angelina Swailes, 31, of West Town Avenue, Brislington have all been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.

The Bennetts and Swailes have been released on bail with a condition not to enter or go within 100 metres of any mosque.

They are due to appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on February 25.

Bristol Post

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A RIOTER told police he wore a balaclava to imitate someone in a burkha during the trouble that broke out during a march in memory of murdered soldier Lee Rigby.

Craig Oakley, 41, joined a march the judge described as little more than a “pub crawl” for men aged between 18 and 35 – some of whom were members of the English Defence League,

The march was organised in Kingswood via social-networking website Facebook following the death of Drummer Rigby in Woolwich, London on May 22.

What started as a relatively peaceful event, with some 20 to 30 people involved, became fractious and resulted in police ‘kettling’ the group, that by then had swollen to around 60 people, in St George’s Hall pub in Redfield.

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During that time Oakley, a security guard, was filmed by police chanting, helping build the barricade of tables and chairs in the pub and kicking out at an police officer.

The married father-of-two of Nover’s Lane, Knowle was arrested and later admitted affray.

At Bristol Crown Court he was given a five-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months with 100 hours unpaid work and must pay a £80 victim surcharge.

Richard Posner, prosecuting, said police quickly realised what had been organised as a family event was nothing of the sort and extra officers were called in.

After they saw Oakley had kicked out at a police officer and helped build the barricade in the pub he was arrested and a balaclava was found in his jeans pocket.

“He had put that balaclava on and made gestures at police officers,” Mr Posner said.

“He said he did so to imitate the wearing of a burkha. They could not say if he was shouting racist abuse.”

Mr Posner said Oakley was quick to apologise for his actions and was seen to be ashamed and embarrassed that he had let his family down.

Robert Morgan-Jones, for Oakley, made it clear there was no evidence his client was a member of the EDL, had hurled racist abuse or thrown bottles at police officers.

He added that there was substantial evidence of Oakley pulling back protesters who were attacking police and he had kicked out in a “moment of madness.”

Mr Morgan-Jones conceded Oakley’s explanation for wearing the balaclava was “ridiculous” but denied he had it there to conceal his identity.

“It speaks more of a lack of thought and stupidity than anything pre-planned,” he said.

Mr Morgan-Jones said Oakley had written a letter expressing his remorse before he was even interviewed, and he had paid a heavy price because he had been unable to get his licence from the Security Industry Authority because of his actions.

Recorder David Evans told Oakley: “You chose to take part in this event and stayed with the marchers for the duration once you had joined them. That meant going to various pubs and drinking alcohol with the group getting increasingly rowdy.

“It has been said on your behalf that kicking out at police was a moment of madness but I’m afraid I don’t agree.

“No one required you to go out drinking or to be at the forefront of the group. It was not a moment of madness, it was a moment of utterly unneeded drunken aggression.

“While wearing the balaclava is not an act of violence it is an aggravating feature and could only have been taken with you on the march with a particular intention.”


Bristol Post