A jail term has been imposed on a man who attempted to steal a cash machine from a supermarket in Kent.

George Jones, 31, was given a four-year, nine-month sentence at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday 23 March 2023 after admitting conspiracy to burgle and dangerous driving at a previous hearing.

The case relates to an attempt to drag a cash machine out of a Co-op store in Station Road, Longfield on Wednesday 6 April 2022.

Two vans had arrived at the scene at around 4am that morning, one of which was then used to break through the front window of the store.

A strap was then tied around a cash machine inside the shop and attached to the chassis bar of the other van.

Two attempts were then made to pull the machine out of the shop, but on the second attempt, the van’s chassis bar was broken.

The three men involved then drove away from the scene and switched into a third van in nearby Sandbanks Hill.

Quick enquiries by Kent Police officers led to the third van being identified as being involved and it was seen on the M25.

100mph pursuit

A pursuit took place, during which the vehicle drove through red traffic lights, the wrong way down a dual carriageway and at speeds of over 100mph.

The pursuit ended in a park in Banstead, Surrey, where the vehicle was abandoned by its occupants.

Jones, who is of no fixed address, was found by a police dog hiding under a bush and was arrested, following assistance from officers from Surrey and the Metropolitan Police.

A shirt which linked Jones to the scene and to the vehicle was found nearby.

Jones’s sentence comes after two men were last year jailed for a total of more than 16 years for six similar offences around Kent between November 2019 and January 2021.

And in September last year, another man was jailed for more than five years for his part in a similar offence which took place in Canterbury in November 2021.

Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Greenstreet, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘With a fourth man now serving a lengthy prison term for this kind of offending, the message to criminals is clear: Come to Kent to steal cash machines and you will be caught and jailed.

‘I would like to praise the officers from Kent, the Metropolitan Police and Surrey who responded on the night of this offence, tracking down this man despite his dangerous attempts to get away, and investigators whose work has led to the guilty pleas.

‘Measures to help prevent future offences of this kind are now in place and I hope staff and workers at businesses around the county feel safer knowing that those behind this kind of offending are in prison.’

By Ed

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