A member of a gang of ram-raiders who tried to steal a cash machine using a forklift truck has been jailed for six and a half years.
At the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday 32-year-old Richard McGrath admitted repeatedly driving a fork lift truck into a wall at Londis Stores in Main Street, Cleland, North Lanarkshire, on November 4, 2008 and attempting to steal an ATM machine and £15,880 in cash.
The court heard that the would-be robbers made no attempt to keep the noise down as they tried to smash the cash machine out of the hole in the wall at 2.15am.
People in neighbouring houses were wakened by banging and scraping sounds as the bucket of the forklift truck smashed into the wall.
The gang also had the yellow flashing lights on top of the machine activated.
Police were inundated with calls from people who were woken by the crashing and thumping. A passing taxi driver also dialled 999.
Advocate depute Stephen O'Rourke, prosecuting, said: "At least three people were involved in the attempted theft and only Mr McGrath was caught.
"One woman living nearby looked out her window after hearing the noise and noticed there was a hole in the wall. She said there were three males and they appeared to panic when they saw her watching them.
"The woman went inside and phoned the police. When she looked again the digger was inside wall and something was being dragged out of it."
The court heard that the cost of repairing the shop wall was £15,000.
Defence counsel Emma Toner said: "Mr McGrath accepts his involvement in this incident, although he says he was not the driver of the digger. He regrets taking part in this."
McGrath also pleaded guilty to failing to turn up for a trial diet on January 14, 2010.
Ms Toner said this was because the father-of-two decided to return home to his family in Liverpool. He handed himself in to police in Glasgow in March this year.
Judge Lady Stacey jailed McGrath for five years and six months for the robbery bid and a further year for failing to turn up for trial.
She told McGrath: "You attempted to steal an ATM machine. A strange attempt with a forklift truck."
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