Police officers were right to shoot out tyres of a high-powered stolen Mercedes to catch members of a hole-in-the-wall gas blast gang who stole £550,000 and targeted two north-east machines, it has been ruled.
The police investigations and review commissioner, Kate Frame, probed the operation in which officers caught two members of the gang on February 12 last year, when their stolen car was spotted by a police officer at McDonalds in Arbroath.
They raiders had stopped off at the fast-food outlet after a botched attempt on a machine in Carnoustie.
Armed police swarmed the scene and blasted the tyres of the Mercedes as well as another car they suspected was involved, before arresting the men.
The arrests of their accomplices soon followed, and seven men have now been convicted, to be sentenced on April 19.
The capture came after raids on Tesco Metro in Newtonhill and Co-op in Kingswells the year before, in which £67,000 cash was taken. A £56,000 Audi RS4 was also stolen from a home in Garthdee Gardens by the gang in May 2015. Their crime spree involved them raking in £550,000 from 13 ATM raids throughout the UK.
Ms Frame said: “The police response, to what was a significant threat to public safety and the officers themselves, was wholly justified.
“They had reliable intelligence to indicate they were dealing with suspects who had access to firearms, a history of extreme violence and who had previously used high-powered stolen vehicles to ram police vehicles and escape.
“When the suspects then used the same dangerous tactic to try and avoid arrest during this incident, the use of tyre deflation rounds to disable their vehicle was not only necessary but proportionate.”