Gang jailed after railway station raids

A RAILWAY ticket machine thief and two members of his family have been jailed for stealing more than �16,000 in a semi-professional crime spree which caused misery for commuters.

Mark ‘Happy’ Loveridge was sentenced to four years in prison.

His 19-year-old stepson Murphy Loveridge was sentenced to 10 months’ youth detention and his brother Albey Loveridge, 42, of Stratton Way, Biggleswade, was jailed for three years.

All three had entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to steal.

Under Operation Tapestry, British Transport Police detectives investigated 57 break-ins at 21 locations across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex, between July 2008 and March 2009 – including one in Knebworth on November 15, 2008.

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Mark Loveridge, 34, of Willington Road, Cople, Bedfordshire, would often target small, rural stations late at night in a bid to evade capture.

They were caught on CCTV tying a rope around a ticket machine, attaching it to a car and driving off, before attacking the machine with a sledgehammer to get to the cash.

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Detective sergeant Craig Payne said: “This family’s exploits caused misery for thousands of passengers and left a trail of destruction the train operators had to repair.

“More than �16,000 went missing from the machines during the period in question but this was dwarfed by a figure of �188,000 in damage and replacement costs.

“Although the Loveridges were highly organised, they were also extremely greedy and it was this trait that led to their downfall.

“Their inability to stop thieving meant the few clues they left behind eventually caught up with them in the form of a very compelling file of evidence.”

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