Two men have been jailed for their roles in three armed robberies at banks in West Yorkshire and Lancashire, between June 2008 and June 2009, after almost half a million pounds was stolen.
Lee Tansey (33) of Pegwell Drive, Salford pleaded guilty to three offences at Lloyds TSB, Darwen, Lancashire on 5th June 2008 at the same bank in Elland, West Yorkshire on 18th June 2009 and HSBC, Marsh, Huddersfield on 26th June 2009.
Rickton Mark Henry (31) of Merridge Walk, Salford pleaded guilty to armed robbery at the HSBC bank, Marsh, Huddersfield on 26th June.
At Bradford Crown Court today (08/06) Tansey was sentenced to 11 years in prison and Henry was jailed for 8 years 8 months.
At 4.30pm on Thursday 5th June 2008, three men smashed the front door of Lloyds TSB Bank on Duckworth Street, Darwen, Lancashire. The bank had just closed to the public, but staff remained inside. Two of the men carrying a crow bar and a sledge hammer demanded the safe to be opened whilst one of the men collected money containers which were on the floor. The three men then left the bank and got inside a grey coloured Audi which was later found abandoned at a car park near to Midville Place. The Audi had been stolen from Prestwich on 29th May 2008. Cash totalling £42,870 was stolen from the bank.
At 10.55am on Thursday 18th June 2009, G4S were delivering cash to Lloyds TSB Bank, Southgate, Elland, West Yorkshire when three masked men carrying a machete, a sledgehammer and a crowbar demanded one of the cash boxes be opened by the delivery man. After being threatened with the weapons he opened the box and threw the contents at the offenders namely £25,000 in cash. One of the offenders then took a member of the bank staff to another room where cash was being stored and demanded the other bags which had been delivered. In total the men stole £150,000 in cash. The men got into a Vauxhall Zafira, which already contained a driver and drove to Saddleworth Road car park. At the car park one of the men got into a white van and drove it away. Two of the men left inside the Zafira walked away from the car park, shortly followed by the last man. The Zafira was then seen to be on fire. The Zafira was stolen from an address in Bury, Manchester on 3rd June 2009.
At 3.15pm on Friday 26th June 2009 three men walked into the HSBC Bank on Westbourne Road, Marsh, Huddersfield, carrying a machete, a sledge hammer and a crow bar. They forced their way into the secure staff section of the bank and emptied the tills of money before demanding the safe to be opened. The offenders took the contents of the safe but not before assaulting one of the employees. In total they stole over £306,000 in cash. The men got into a Vauxhall Vectra which was waiting near to the bank and drove away from the scene. A short time later it was found abandoned on Saville Road, Lindley, Huddersfield on fire.
Through enquiries made using West Yorkshire Police following the robbery officers discovered that the Vauxhall Vectra was seen earlier that day on M62 and appeared to be in convoy with a Vauxhall Combi car derived van.
Just before 4pm officers from Greater Manchester Police spotted the Combi van on the motorway and started to follow it. The van then drove off a speed. Officers continued to pursue the van and it eventually stopped in the multi storey car park of the Arndale Centre. The occupants fled into the shopping centre and out of sight.
When officers searched the van they found a sledgehammer, a crowbar and a machete as well as some clothing and further clothing was found inside one of the lifts.
Tansey and Henry were arrested at Liverpool Airport after they were extradited from Spain on European arrest warrants with the assistance of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
Detective Inspector Warren Stevenson of West Yorkshire Police’s Crime Division said: “These men, armed with potentially lethal weapons, forced their way into banks and stole cash for their own benefits.
“They showed no concern for the workers who were trying to go about their business when they threatened them with violence if they didn’t hand over cash.
“People should be able to feel safe whilst at work and I hope they can all take some comfort from today’s sentencing.
“These men did everything they could to try and evade capture, even committing crime across Force boundaries, but thanks to some good detective work, some sharing of intelligence between Forces including Lancashire Police and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, they were located in Spain and brought back to England under a European Arrest Warrant to face the Courts.”
Matt Burton from the Serious Organised Crime Agency said: “Tansey and Henry were targeted as part of a multi-agency crackdown on north west organised crime. They were arrested during joint operations with the Spanish authorities. Our international reach should leave other criminals in no doubt that life on the run will be uncomfortable, insecure and short lived.”