Verdicts are returned for defendants accused of being part of a 41-crime spree
Three men accused of a crime spree including an armed bank raid in Farnborough have been found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery.
Stewart Last, 28, of Filmer Road, Windsor, Richard Loveridge, 27, of Ditton Road, Datchet, and Andrew Smith, 27, of Montrose Avenue, Slough, were all found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery.
Last and Loveridge were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary. Smith, however, was found not guilty of this count.
The final defendant in the trial was Lee Fitzgerald, 37, of Perrycroft, Windsor, who was cleared of both counts.
The verdicts were returned at around 4.15pm at Winchester Crown Court on Friday, October 18, following a five-week trial.
The four men denied all charges relating to a series of 41 burglaries and robberies during a six-month period between 2011 and 2012 across Hampshire, Thames Valley, Wiltshire and Surrey.
The court heard that car licence plates were stolen from residents in Sandhurst to facilitate the crimes.
CCTV cameras captured two men breaking into Santander in Eastmead, Farnborough, on January 9 last year, before attacking a G4S security guard with a sledgehammer and making off with £85,000.
A metal disc cutter was found at Last’s home address along with a paint-splattered ladder, paper overalls and latex gloves, but it was claimed this was not out of the ordinary as he had a job as a builder at the time.
Mobile phone evidence was used to track members of the gang leaving and arriving at their base camp at Longfield Farm in Windsor.
Loveridge faced questioning over his whereabouts on the day of the Farnborough robbery as his mobile signal was picked up fleeing the area.
He claimed he was at the gym in Frimley with his personal trainer at the time.
Last week, the jurors heard that saliva found on a mask used in the Farnborough bank robbery had been matched to Smith's DNA and had a 'one in a billion' chance of being inaccurate.
Fitzgerald had been accused of acting as a facilitator by hiring a lock-up garage at the farm which the gang used as a ‘base camp’, but was cleared of any involvement in the crimes.
The guilty defendants will learn their sentences on November 20.
For more on the police investigation into the case, see this Thursday's News & Mail, out October 24.