Career criminal from Stalybridge is jailed for raids on cash machines

THESE police mugshots span 10 years, but a string of prison stretches have failed to diminish Gavin Phythian’s defiant scowl.

The career criminal, 31, from Stalybridge has a criminal record dating back to 2008 for burglary and robbery and, while the haircuts have changed over the years, Phythian’s shameless deadpan facial expression for the police camera has never waivered.

His latest arrest portrait was taken in April last year after he was detained over a plot to steal cash machines from around Greater Manchester.

The father of two from Hanover Street, took part in two bungled attempts to steal ATMs from locations in Oldham and Flixton, trying to make off with cash filled machines before being rumbled.

In Springhead, the gang targeted the Raja Brother’s store in the small hours and were captured on CCTV. Neighbours alerted police after the noise and the gang fled.

On a second occasion two weeks later, the gang triggered an alarm in a branch of Co-op at Flixton while trying to make off with the store cash machine and left the scene.  Inquiries revealed he was on license having been freed early from another prison stretch for house burglary. He was repeatedly freed early from other prison stretches only to reoffend.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Phythian admitted conspiracy to steal and was jailed for another two-and-a-half-years. It is thought he will be free again later this year due to automatic early release and due to time spent on remand.

Judge Paul Lawton said: “The fact that you only went to two failed attempts isn’t a true picture of your criminality, you joined a wider conspiracy knowing it was carefully planned. You knew you were playing for high stakes if you had been successful and the rewards would have been in the thousands of pounds even at your level.

“These weren’t just attacks on cash machines they were attacks on the wider community. At just 31 you are a relatively young man with an appalling and extensive record for dishonesty and serious offences of robbery.”

Phythian was originally jailed 40 months in 2008 for burglary but when he was released early on licence the following year. He failed to attend compulsory meetings with probation offices and was recalled to jail to finish his sentence.

In 2013 he was jailed for four years and eight months after he was part of three-man team of masked men who robbed a jewellery store while armed with sledgehammers. The gang burst into the shop and threatened staff before smashed the security screen.

They then leapt over the counter and smashed display cabinets containing jewellery as terrified staff took cover in an office. Police said the trio stole jewellery worth about £14,000 then escaped in the getaway car. Phythian was caught after inquiries revealed he had bought a stolen black Seat Leon on the black market and used it in the raid.

He was freed early in 2015 but was then made the subject of a police wanted appeal following the theft of a Mercedes car during a burglary near Preston. The car was later found crashed and abandoned in a field off the A674 in Hoghton. he was the flagged by police on a ‘most wanted’ list before being locked up again for undisclosed offences and then freed early on parole.

The latest raid took place at Raja Brother’s convenience store in Springhead, Oldham. Prosecutor Christopher Smith said: “Four individuals set about attacking a cash machine at about 2am but it ended when police were alerted by neighbours because of the noise.

“There was then the attempted attack on Co-op by the same gang who attacked the Raja Store. This attack was in the small hours just about a fortnight after the incident. The four men got into the store and the alarm was triggered in the course of their attack and they fled.

“The staff discovered a hole in the ceiling the following morning.” Phythian has a record including convictions for dishonesty, burglary dwelling theft, handling stolen goods and robbery

Defence barrister Howard Bernstein said: “This is obviously a serious and wide-ranging conspiracy that was very lucrative but in respect of the defendant’s involvement it wasn’t of a lengthy period of time or lucrative.

“His involvement was of a short period of time but is aggravated by his record and the fact it was committed while he was on license. He was then recalled on that license to complete his sentence.

“He has a child who was born after these offences were committed and he is minded to stop his offending and find employment in the community. When he was released last on his license he was working to try and change his ways but he didn’t.”

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