Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2004

'Most inept' bank robber jailed

Phillip Mills
Mills had been drinking before his robbery attempt
A man whose bank robbery attempt failed when a cashier accidentally locked him inside the building has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Phillip Mills walked into the HSBC bank near his home in Connah's Quay, north Wales, last December and handed over a note saying "give me the money and you will not get hurt".

The cashier was unable to press the alarm because she fainted out of fear, the court heard, but another member of staff - unaware of Mills - had gone to the front door and locked it.

Forced to sit and wait, when police arrived to arrest him, Mills told them: "I've been a bit silly".

Jailing Mills at Mold Crown Court on Friday, Judge Roger Dutton said the robbery was the "most inept" he had ever come across.

He placed the money back on the counter and somewhat bizarrely went to sit down on a chair in the customer lobby and waited for the police to arrive
Steven Everett, prosecuting

"To end up with the cash but locked in the bank shows quite graphically how hopeless this really was," said Judge Dutton.

"This was perhaps one of the most, if not the most, inept bank robbery that has been for many years."

The judge had heard how a cashier had been advised to give Mills 1,000 in 10 notes to avoid the risk of harm.

"He walked over to the main doors but when he tried to leave he found that he was trapped inside," explained Steven Everett, prosecuting.

"He placed the money back on the counter and somewhat bizarrely went to sit down on a chair in the customer lobby and waited for the police to arrive."

The judge commented: "I suppose he had no option."

John Philpotts, defending, said Mills had lost his wife and his home after a 25-year marriage and when help was either denied or unavailable, he turned to drink.

He told the court that his client appreciated that it was nasty for the victims and he was ashamed and remorseful and wished he could make amends.

Mills had pleaded guilty at the very first opportunity, he added, and while it may be said that he had no choice, he was a man who had fully co-operated and accepted full responsibility immediately, removing any possibility of the victims having to give evidence.

The court was told that one of the female bank employees had been on sick leave ever since the attempted robbery.

Bank staff trap robber
05 Jan 04 |  North East Wales
Bungling bank robber faces life
15 Oct 03 |  Oxfordshire

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