A bungling shop raider who caused "enormous damage" as he and his accomplices tried to steal a freestanding cash machine has been jailed for four years and nine months.
Patrick Anthony Gavin, 28, of Leighton Street Caravan Park, Preston, and his accomplices launched the botched plan at the Londis store in Whittingham Lane, Goosnargh, near Preston, on January 8 last year - viewing it as a "soft target" due to its rural location.
Preston Crown Court heard they caused great damage in their efforts to ramraid the shop, then use the 4x4 getaway vehicle try to tow away the free standing ATM, which had £11,200 inside.
But the criminals were quickly forced to dump the hefty machine in the street and had to flee empty handed.
READ MORE: Thieves dump stolen cash machine outside Preston post office after failing to lift it into getaway car
Today the shop's owner, Kez Parekh, 48, who runs the store with his wife Nita, 41, revealed community spirited residents had helped to thwart them.
One resident, who was walking her dog, heard their noisy attempts to steal the ATM, and walked up the road to investigate.
She shouted at the men when she saw them.
Another neighbour rang police, and another turned on the lounge light to startle them.
The panicking men could not get the ATM into the 4x4 getaway car and had to leave it at the scene.
Mr Parekh said: "We had only taken over in September, so it was quite a shock. We didn't really expect this in such a quiet place.
"We were also targeted two months later, which was even more detrimental - especially to my wife.
READ MORE: Goosnargh Post Office raided for a second time in two months
"It made us want to move away.
"The police have been great but it's a shame for the rural community that they're so far away when things like this happen.
"The criminals have the upper hand because it takes the police longer to reach rural places, their response time is longer because we're so far away.
"The raid not only had an impact on us but the community we serve. Trying to sort out insurance claims and repairs was a nightmare.
"We've had a lot of support from residents.
"But we are always on edge now."
Gavin, who admits burglary, has a long criminal record and was subject to a suspended sentence order when he committed the offence.
Judge Simon Medland QC said: "You viewed it as an easy way to enrich yourselves at the expense of others.
"Only because you were spotted and the alarm raised did this plan fail.
"The effect on the shop owner is significant. It has had an enduring psychological impact and they have been put to significant expense in terms of their insurance excess and the need to pay for steel shutters. They lost a valuable income stream from usage commissions when the machine was out of action.
" This is, in my view, a very grave offence. There is, rightly, great public concern at the number of these sorts of attacks.
"This was a serious and organised crime with multiple offenders, committed in the hours of darkness, involving considerable planning and criminal determination.
" Small village shops like this provide a valuable public service and you and your fellow criminals jeopardised that simply because you were greedy and dishonest.
" When such premises are targeted and attacked the public is entitled to know that the courts will take a very serious view and impose long sentences of imprisonment."