A gang “meticulously” planned to blow up and take cash from ATMs at post offices across Bradford, pocketing more than £120,000 in one Christmas Day raid, a jury has been told.

One alleged member of the group, Lee Walker, 32, is standing trial at Bradford Crown Court accused of plotting thefts from post offices in Bradford, Shipley, and Pudsey.

Opening the prosecution case yesterday, James Bourne-Arton said that Walker was part of a conspiracy which “meticulously and professionally targeted ATM machines at post offices across West Yorkshire.”

He said the gang would remove the front of ATMs before pumping a mixture of oxygen and acetylene into the dispensers and lighting a fuse, aimed at causing an explosion that would allow access to the cash cassettes housed inside.

Mr Bourne-Arton said the group aimed to cover their tracks by using stolen getaway vehicles, acquired in burglaries in the days leading up to the raids, which were carried out in December, 2015.

Walker, of Swain House Crescent, Bradford, denies two charges of conspiracy to burgle, one of conspiracy to steal, and one of conspiracy to cause explosions.

The jury were told that two co-defendants - Jenson Grant, 32, of Pennington Terrace, Little Horton, Bradford, and Lee Rubery, 46, of no fixed abode - had already pleaded guilty to the offences.

Mr Bourne-Arton said that just after 4am on December 9, an ATM at the Wrose post office on Wrose Road, Shipley, was blown up, with £9,340 taken.

A few hours later, a Mitsubishi used in the raid, which had been stolen from an address in Holmfirth three days earlier, was found torched in Undercliffe, with four empty cash cassettes recovered from the vehicle.

The jury heard that the day before the raid, Walker’s phone had been tracked to a cell site near the post office, something Mr Bourne-Arton said “suggested he was performing some sort of reconnaissance mission.”

The gang were said to have then carried out two raids, which ultimately failed, in the early hours of December 20.

CCTV footage at the Greenthorpe post office in Pudsey showed three men attempting to fix explosives to the ATM, before then “hacking at it with saws” before triggering an alarm.

An hour later, footage showed a group of men, two of whom were wearing “santa hats”, trying to force pipes into the cash machine at the Bierley post office in Hambledon Avenue, Bierley.

The gang fled, but when police arrived, cylinders of oxygen and acetylene were found at the scene with the gas still turned on.

One of the hats recovered from the post office was found to contain Walker’s DNA, and phone records indicated he had been in contact with his co-accused that night.

In both incidents, the group used an Audi A5, stolen from Littleborough in Greater Manchester on December 17.

Mr Bourne-Arton told the jury that on December 23, a Ford Focus was taken from an address on Swain House Road, in Bradford.

Two days later, in the early hours of Christmas Day, three men were seen putting cash cassettes into the car after a raid on the Girlington post office on Kensington Street, Girlington.

The store’s ATM had been blown up, causing “significant damage” to the building and allowing the men to steal £120,810 in cash.

The gang used dusters to plug gaps in the machine prior to the explosion, and the jury heard that Walker’s DNA had been found on a sample of material recovered from the scene.

The Focus, with false plates, was found abandoned in Christopher Terrace, near Little Horton Lane, Bradford, in early January, 2016, and Walker was arrested later that month.

Mr Bourne-Arton said that Walker’s guilt was proven by phone records between him and his co-accused and the presence of his DNA at the various crime scenes.

He said: “You can be sure that this man was involved in each of these offences. There was a clear conspiracy to steal the cash and burgle the properties.”

The trial continues.