Two men jailed for plotting violence at Appleby Horse Fair

04/07/2017

Two feuding men have been jailed for three years apiece for conspiring to commit violent disorder at the 2016 Appleby Horse Fair.

Alan Tunney, aged 33, of Bentley, Doncaster, and James McPhee, aged 43, of Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, were sentenced yesterday (3 July) at Carlisle Crown Court. 

The men had set out their intentions to cause harm to one another in a series of online videos.  

Police, who were aware of the videos prior to the fair, filmed a large number of men believed to be associated with McPhee gathering in a field nearby to Appleby. The men were dispersed following police intervention.

Meanwhile officers intercepted a convoy of around 19 vehicles associated to Tunney on the A66 at Penrith heading towards Appleby. It was believed that Tunney was travelling with the convoy intent on causing violence. The area adjacent to where police stopped the convoy was searched by Cumbria Constabulary dog handlers and specialist trained officers, who located 11 knives, a screwdriver and a stand-alone blade believed to have been discarded by unidentified members of the convoy.

Both men were also banned from attending the fair for 10 years. 

Detective Constable Ian Chappell, North Cumbria CID said: "These two men were clearly planning on causing violent disorder on a large-scale, giving no thought to the many families that attend the Appleby Horse Fair every year.

"The diligent enquiries of the Constabulary intelligence bureau enabled a quick response by operational officers, who were able to identify the rival groups and disperse them from the area in a safe and timely manner, ensuring the safety of those at the fair and the wider local community.

"North Cumbria CID liaised with numerous Constabularies across Northern England and Police Scotland, leading to the arrests of Mr Tunney and Mr McPhee. Both males were uncooperative during the investigation and have shown no remorse for their actions."

Stuart Pattinson, Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS North West, said: "Alan Tunney and James McPhee admitted conspiring to commit violent disorder at the annual Appleby Horse Fair last year. Both were today sentenced to three years imprisonment each.

"The conspiracy involved a pre-arranged fight in the context of an on-going feud between rival families. The defendants were well aware that the meeting would result in serious violence which not only put the participants at risk of injury, but also members of the public who were visiting Appleby to enjoy the historic annual event.

"We worked closely with the police from the outset to build the strongest possible case against both defendants, which left them with no other option but to plead guilty."