Jail for Doncaster man who blew up cash machines to steal nearly £100,000 in a string of raids

A Doncaster man who was part of a gang which blew up cash machines to steal nearly £100,000 in cash has been jailed.

George Tunney, aged 24, was sentenced to 11 years in prison at York Crown Court after targeting nine cash machines just a few months after being released from prison for other offences.

He was charged with conspiracy to cause explosions, conspiracy to burgle, theft and handling stolen goods following the offences committed in January and March 2020. All were caught on CCTV and showed him using stolen vehicles. He was finally caught after a car chase with police.

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George Tunney has been jailed for 11 years

Tunney began the offences in January 2020, firstly targeting three ATMs on January 6 including Cantley Post Office, Barclays Bank at Lakeside, Doncaster and Barclays Bank in Hessle near Hull. Then, on January 7, he attempted again at the Coop on Dysart Road, Grantham and the Post Office in Mansfield. Tunney failed to get any cash but caused several thousands of pounds worth of damage to the business owners.

On January 10, Tunney targeted Spaceways Service Station in Nether Poppleton. He again caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and this time stole over £57,000 in cash from the ATM.

In a second spate of attempted thefts in March, Tunney targeted The Post Office in Shepshed, Leicestershire, the Jet garage in Adwick, and an ATM at the Coop in Starbeck near Harrogate. One of these attempts saw Tunney steal over £35,000 in cash.

Around 2am on 10 March, a few days after the second spate of attacks, North Yorkshire Police officers spotted one of the stolen vehicles near York and pursued it. It drove the wrong way round a roundabout before travelling along the wrong side of the A64 dual carriageway, later crashing into the car park barriers at the McArthur Glen York Designer Outlet.

CCTV pictures show the raid at the cash machine in Adwick

The occupants fled but the police helicopter spotted a heat source close to the River Ouse. The suspects were found hiding in a tree trunk and were arrested.

Tunney pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 11 years in prison, plus banned from driving for eight years.

North Yorkshire Police Det Supt, Fran Naughton, said: “The sentence given to Tunney today is a clear demonstration that this type of crime will not be tolerated. Not only did Tunney and his associates endanger many lives through the dangerous use of explosives, some of which were deployed at fuel forecourts, they caused well in excess of £60,000 damage to a number of businesses.

“These businesses provide essential local services to their communities and many were out of use for extended periods of time whilst repairs were made.

“This has been an extensive investigation, supported through SaferCash and the companies affected by these crimes with many lines of enquiry progressed to ensure these offenders face the consequences of their actions. I would like to thank everyone who played a role in securing a successful outcome for this case.”

In November 2020, a Norfolk man and a teenager from Doncaster were charged with conspiracy to cause explosions, conspiracy to commit burglaries and aggravated vehicle taking following their part in the March spate of attacks with Tunney.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.