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A bank robber failed to make off with any cash as his handwriting was so poor that staff at a Nationwide Building Society didn’t understand that he was trying to threaten them.
Alan Slattery, 67, from St Leonards in Hastings, was given a six-year extended sentence at Lewes Crown Court after pleading guilty to robbery and two counts of attempted robbery.
He made three attempts to rob banks in Eastbourne and Hastings over a two week period where he gave cashiers a note demanding they hand over money — but was only successful on one occasion.
Slattery entered the Nationwide Building Society in Eastbourne on March 18, last year, but the scrawled note he handed over couldn't be read by staff and so he was forced to leave with nothing.
A Sussex Police spokesperson reportedly said: "Staff at the bank later managed to read the note, which said, 'Your screen won't stop what I've got, just hand over the 10s and the 20s. Think about the other customers.'
"They then rang police, who attended and seized the note and CCTV footage from inside the bank."
Slattery then headed to the Nationwide Building Society in St Leonards, on March 26, where he did manage to make off with £2,400 in cash after handing over a note to terrified staff.
But another attempt also failed at a NatWest in Hastings where the cashier challenged Slattery.
The Sussex Police spokesperson said: "Staff at the bank reported a man entering the branch and handing over a threatening note demanding money.
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"The cashier challenged the man, who then left empty-handed."
Slattery was later arrested and a search of his home by detectives also led them to link him to the crimes.
The police spokesperson added: "A search of his address found some sticky labels identical to the label that had been handed to staff at NatWest bank, and a jacket that matched that of the man seen in CCTV from NatWest."
After he was sentenced by a judge, investigating officer Det Const Jay Fair said the extended six-year sentence sent out the right message to would-be offenders.
"These incidents caused fear and distress to both the employees working in the banks, and to the wider public," said Det Const Fair.
"I'd like to thank all the victims and witnesses who supported our investigation, and I'm pleased to see the severity of the offences reflected in the sentence handed out by the court."
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