Fake bomb robber jailed for 8 years - Luton


A man who walked into a betting office with a fake bomb has been jailed for 8 years.

Brian Woods told the terrified woman cashier behind the counter to fill up a black binliner with money.  When she tried to retreat into a back office at the Ladbrokes betting shop in Cole Green Lane, Welwyn Garden City, Woods vaulted the counter to go after her.

Luton Crown Court heard, she desperately tried to keep the door shut as Woods, 46, who was armed with a knife, pushed against it.

On Thursday, 28 November 2013, Judge David Farrell QC was told, Woods escaped from the shop with £500 and the robbery left the woman, who feared for her life that day, traumatised.

Woods, of Elliott Close, Welwyn Garden City, pleaded guilty to robbery and having an offensive weapon.

Prosecutor Adrian Amer said it was on Friday , 06 September,  just before 4.50pm,  when Woods went to the shop ,clutching a bottle with tape around it and wires protruding. He was holding a key fob device, making out it was some sort of detonator and slammed a black binliner down on the counter telling a woman member of staff  "Put all the money in the bag right now!"

Mr Amer said the woman began to fill the bag with money, but then dashed towards a back office. Woods vaulted the counter and pushed the door open as she struggled to keep it shut and then made off with the money leaving the device in the shop.

The court was told that police officers who attended the shop decided the device could be "viable" and, as a result, a bomb disposal unit were called to the scene. A 100 metre cordon was set up around the premises with shops and businesses being evacuated, before it was discovered it was indeed a fake.

Woods was arrested the following day.  He told police officers "I did it, I've had a breakdown. I want to go back to prison."

Mr Amer said officers discovered three handwritten notes made by Woods setting out demands for money that could be handed to cashiers and shop assistants.

The court heard how, in 1993, he had been jailed for five years for robbing a Ladbrokes betting shop in Hatfield of £500. In October 2002,  he had robbed a bookmakers in Hatfield of £860 after handing a cashier a note which said "I have a gun - hand over the money." That same month he went into a Hatfield shop holding a syringe and threatening to inject staff with it. He escaped with £250.

For those robberies he was jailed for seven years at St Albans crown court.

The court was told in 2010 Woods was jailed for 4 years for another betting office robbery in which he had an imitation gun. He made off with over £1000.

When he committed the present offence, the court heard he was on licence for the 2010 robbery.The court heard Woods had battled with drug addictions and, after his arrest in September, tested positive for cocaine and heroin.

Passing sentence, Judge Farrell told Woods he had left the woman cashier "understandably terrified." He told Woods he had reached the conclusion he posed a continuing threat to the public and there was a significant risk of him committing more offences. For that reason he said he had to be regarded as "dangerous" and therefore an extended prison sentence was necessary.

He jailed him for 8 years, telling him he will have to serve two thirds of the term behind bars before he can be released into the community.

However, Woods was told he will remain on licence until 2025.

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