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Gang who stole from the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket jailed for 74 years



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Members of an organised crime group (OCG) who raided the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket, stealing high-value trophies during their crime spree have been jailed for total of 74 years.

Six members of the OCG codenamed Solar, wreaked havoc across several counties, over a period of 12 months, mainly targeting ATMs - often using dangerous and violent tactics, such as explosive gases and flammable liquids.

The group also attacked rural locations and other businesses including the museum, stealing plant machinery, 4x4 vehicles and tractors.

Jimmy Sheen, David Riley, Frenny Green, Shane Harris, Jimmy Loveridge and Paul Smith. PIctures: Thames Valley Police. (56817867)
Jimmy Sheen, David Riley, Frenny Green, Shane Harris, Jimmy Loveridge and Paul Smith. PIctures: Thames Valley Police. (56817867)

Following a trial at Oxford Crown Court, which concluded on 25 March this year, Jimmy Sheen, 37, of Oxford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause an explosion, conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary, theft, attempted theft, using criminal property and conspiracy to steal.

He was sentenced to 17 years and four months in prison.

David Riley, 26, of Redhill, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause an explosion, conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary, theft and handling stolen goods - he was jailed for 17 years and three months.

Frenny Green, 33, of HMP Bullingdon, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause an explosion - he was sent to prison for 10 years and six months.

Shane Harris, 32, of Charlbury, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary - he was sentenced to three years and four months in prison.

Jimmy Loveridge, 30, formerly of Chertsey Road, Chobham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary, attempted theft, using criminal property and conspiracy to steal - he was jailed for 14 years and three months.

And finally, Paul Smith, 30, of Yateley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and was found guilty by unanimous jury verdict of conspiracy to commit burglary, attempted theft and using criminal property - he was jailed for 11 years and four months.

Thames Valley Police, who lead the investigation under the name Operation Jack Knife, took in nearly 60 offences between June 2019 and June 2020.

The first crimes related to multiple attacks on ATMs using gas attacks and explosions to steal cash from the machines.

Subsequently, the OCG, led by Sheen, found their gas attack tactic was not working so they changed their method to ram-raids and drag-out attacks, again causing significant damage to commercial premises.

Finally, the group moved to rural crime, targeting the theft of high-value agricultural vehicles and plant and it was around this time that the burglary at the National Horse Racing Museum took place.

The National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket.
The National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket.

High-value trophies, some of which were of historical significance, were taken - these have never been recovered.

Following the lengthy investigation, all six men were arrested and charged with multiple offences in April 2021.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Aidan Donohoe said: “Jimmy Sheen and this OCG caused great pain to local communities with their outrageous, dangerous and audacious offending.

"Our investigation and these subsequent convictions mean this OCG has been completely dismantled.

"I am immensely proud of the work of the entire team, and I hope these convictions and sentences will reassure our communities that we will tirelessly work to disrupt and dismantle serious and organised criminal groups to take them off the streets so they cannot cause harm to anybody else."