The trial of a group of men accused of robbing Santander - along with 40 other robberies and burglaries - is now in its fourth week, with the jury being told about mobile phone evidence
Mobile phone evidence was used to track down a gang accused of robbing a Farnborough bank, a court has heard.
A group made off with £85,000 from Santander in Eastmead after hitting a security guard with a sledgehammer on January 9 last year, Winchester Crown Court heard on October 8.
The jury of five women and seven men heard how the signal of one of the accused’s mobile phones was picked up by masts in the vicinity of the crime and traced back to the gang’s hideout. Standing trial, Andrew Smith, 27, of Montrose Avenue, Slough, Stewart Last, 28, of Filmer Road, Windsor, Richard Loveridge, 27, of Ditton Road, Datchet and Lee Fitzgerald, 37, of Perrycroft, Windsor, all deny conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit burglary.
The robbery was the last in a series of 41 cash robberies and burglaries the men are accused of carrying out during a six-month spree across Hampshire, Thames Valley, Wiltshire and Surrey.
Prosecutor James Newton-Price quizzed Loveridge about his whereabouts on the day of the Farnborough raid and why his phone signal was picked up fleeing the area. Loveridge claimed he was at a gym in Frimley with his personal trainer at the time of the bank robbery. He said: “I cannot remember what time I went there, it was late. Maybe 9pm or 10pm. I train for half an hour to an hour depending on the session, I cannot say what time I left the gym.”
He said he was only doing reps and weights as an injury had prevented him from doing anything highly energetic.
“I clarified it in my trainer’s diary,” he said. “It is up to my legal team to decide if he is used as a witness.”
The father-of-four admitted he used to deal cannabis and said that after the gym he went to meet a client and that was why his phone signal was traced leaving the Frimley area towards Windsor.
Mr Newton-Price said: “This story of going to the gym is a pack of lies which you have made up. On this day of all days you have got yourself, or you are trying to get yourself, an alibi.
“You stupidly switched your phone on five minutes after the robbery and we could track you back to the farm.”
From 10.41pm Loveridge’s phone signal was picked up on masts in the Bisley, Camberley, Sunninghill and then the Windsor area.
The gang got into a habit of not using their phone during the hours leading up to each robbery, Mr Newton-Price said. No calls were made or received during 7.37pm and 9.38pm on Last, Smith or Loveridge’s phones on the day of the Santander raid. At 10.30pm a gang disguised in balaclavas, dark clothing and gloves targeted G4S security guards and their van with a sledgehammer and a metal disc cutter.
Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the gang’s base in Longfield Farm, near Windsor. A white VW Golf was seen leaving the lock-up and returning that evening when a fire was started where it is alleged the gang burnt the evidence from the robbery.
Mr Newton-Price described the Farnborough robbery as the gang’s second ‘jackpot’ after they walked away with £105,000 from a bank in Fareham the month before.
A stolen black BMW One Series is said to have been used in the gang’s first string of robberies until it was torched on January 6, 2012 and a white VW Golf replaced it the next day.
The trial, which began on September 9, continues.