A GANG who targeted elderly and vulnerable people as they were using cash machines in the borough have been jailed for a total of five and a half years.
Between December 2008 and February 2009, around £5,000 was stolen by the four accomplices during distraction thefts at ATMs in Ealing and neighbouring boroughs.
Khader Bouabdallah, 19, Abdul Malik, 20, and 30-year-old Abbas Monier, all from East London appeared at Isleworth Crown Court at the end of October where they were found guilty of the 11 ATM thefts.
A fourth member, Hatab Bouabdallah, 18, received a 12-month supervision order and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service for her involvement in the thefts.
Ealing Police worked closely with the Business Improvement District (BID), Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre and the town centre banks to catch the criminals.
PC Graeme Finlay from Ealing Broadway Safer Neighbourhood Team said: "We became concerned with a sudden rise in this type of crime in our area. We worked closely with our partners to catch the perpetrators.
"Following the consultation, all parties involved recognised the problem of ATM thefts and agreed to deal with the issue with urgency. My colleagues and I are very pleased that we were able to catch those responsible and bring them to justice.
"I believe the sentences given will be seen as a sufficient deterrent and send a strong message to all those who seek to engage in this type of criminal activity."
Since the ATM thefts, Barclays Bank has introduced 'safe boxes' pavement markings which gives people using the cash machines privacy while carrying out their transactions.
Radios have also been given to bank staff by BID to allow them to report any suspicious behaviour and patrols by plain clothes officers and those wearing high visibility vests have been stepped up around the town's banks.