Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 14:34 UK

Armed 'Robin Hood' raider jailed

Stephen Jackley
Stephen Jackley admitted 18 charges

A man who saw himself as a "Robin Hood" figure has been jailed for 13 years for carrying out robberies across England.

Ex-Worcester University student Stephen Jackley, of Sidmouth, Devon, planned to give some of the stolen money to charity, Worcester Crown Court heard.

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to 18 charges including using knives and imitation guns during raids on banks, bookmakers and building societies.

The robberies took place in Devon, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Imitation bomb

Geography student Jackley admitted five offences of robbery, three of attempted robbery, seven of possessing firearms with intent, burglary, attempted burglary and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

I will continue to take from the rich and give to the poor
Letter believed to be from Jackley, which he signed "RH"

He was previously jailed for 10 months by a judge in the US state of Vermont for attempting to use fake ID to buy a gun.

After his arrest for this offence, his room at Worcester University was searched and an imitation bomb was found, causing the building to be evacuated for five hours.

They discovered a "treasure trove of evidence", including notes about his past and planned raids, knives, imitation firearms, tools and disguises, Worcester Crown Court heard.

In notebooks discovered by police, Jackley referred to himself as Robin Hood and said he planned to give £40,000 of the £100,000 he intended to steal to charities, keeping the rest for himself.

After an attempted robbery at the Britannia Building Society in Exeter, the town's Express and Echo newspaper received an anonymous letter telling police they had arrested the wrong man.

Stephen Jackley filmed on CCTV during one of his raids
Jackley was filmed on CCTV during this raid

It read: "I will continue to take from the rich and give to the poor" and was signed "RH".

Det Insp Jim Fox, of West Mercia Police, said: "There is no evidence whatsoever to confirm his intentions were to give the proceeds of those crimes to 'the poor', despite the fact that he claimed he was a modern-day Robin Hood.

"His activity had no beneficiaries but himself, although in just one incident he delivered cash to a charity shop that he had damaged during his attempts to gain entry to an adjoining bank.

"He had also stolen items from that charity shop."

He added: "Jackley is a dangerous man and the reality of his behaviour is a far cry from the self-styled character he depicted in his deluded diaries."

'Terrified' staff

The court heard Jackley used a variety of wigs, dark glasses and a balaclava to disguise himself during the raids.

Judge Cavell said Jackley's crimes were "carefully planned" and had gained him £11,000.

He said: "I am satisfied that you did set out to terrify such employees and customers who happened to be on the premises.

"When one man had the courage to stand up to you, armed as you were, you slashed at him with a vicious bladed knife."



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