A DROITWICH man who took part in a £30,000 cashpoint machine raid the day after being released from prison has been remanded in custody.

James Doody was one of a team who took part in a night-time raid at the M40 Welcome Break services at Barn Hill in Warwickshire in September last year.

He was caught after a police dog tracked him from the abandoned Transit, into which the cash machine had been loaded, to the garden of a house in a nearby village where he was hiding.

And at Warwick Crown Court Doody, 23, of Hunters Place, pleaded guilty to charges of burglary, driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

The daring raid had taken place in the early hours of September 27 when a gang of five men turned up at the service station in three vehicles.

A Ford Ranger was used to ram the building and to then rip out the cashpoint machine which was loaded into the back of a Transit van.

The raiders then abandoned the Ranger and made off in the van, which was driven by Doody, and an Audi estate which was later found at a farm in Warmington, near Banbury, where it is believed the occupants switched to another vehicle.

The police found the Transit abandoned in the village of Bishops Itchington, and a police dog tracked Doody from the van to the garden of a house in nearby Gaydon Road where he was hiding, and he was arrested.

But Doody, who had only been freed from prison the day before the raid in the early hours of September 27, entered his guilty pleas on the basis that he had not been told anything about the nature of the enterprise when he was recruited.

That was rejected by prosecutor Lee Marklew, who commented: “I am told he says that if he had known the value to be stolen was much as £30,000 and that the target was a cashpoint machine, he would not have committed this burglary. The prosecution say that defies belief.”

But Mr Marklew did point out: “James Doody was released only the previous day from prison, so he could not have been the architect of the scheme because the cars used in this had already been taken by then.”

And Tom Schofield, defending, said that two people posing as undercover police officers had been ‘casing the scene’ of the burglary while Doody was still in jail.

Ordering a ‘trial of issue’ on Doody’s basis of plea, Judge Alan Parker said: “It was a well-organised and well-informed conspiracy in which a substantial amount of money was stolen and a significant amount of damage was caused.

“I certainly do not accept this basis of plea; and then I ask myself whether it would make any difference to the sentence – and I consider it would.”

Judge Parker adjourned the case for that hearing to take place, and rejected an application by Mr Schofield for Doody’s bail to be continued.

Remanding Doody in custody, the judge told him: “This is so serious, and particularly so if the ruling is against you on your basis of plea, that it would be human nature to be tempted not to turn up.”