Alan Slattery, 67, retired, of Stonehouse Drive, St Leonards, was handed a six-year extended sentence when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, July 16.
Slattery entered three banks in Hastings and Eastbourne in the space of two weeks, and used written notes to ask the cashiers to hand over money.
His first attempt was at the Nationwide Building Society in Terminus Road, Eastbourne, at 10.45am on March 18, 2021. Due to poor handwriting, the employee was unable to read the note and Slattery left the branch empty-handed, according to police.
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.
At around 2.50pm on March 26, Slattery entered the Nationwide Building Society branch in London Road, St Leonards. He handed a threatening note over to the cashier who, in fear for her safety, handed over £2,400 in cash. Slattery did not say anything, but left with the money, police said.
Police attended and viewed CCTV from the bank and surrounding businesses, which showed Slattery boarding a bus moments after the robbery.
Enquiries with the bus company identified Slattery from the picture on his bus pass, which matched that as the person seen in the bank’s CCTV.
As enquiries were ongoing to trace Slattery, police received a call from the NatWest bank in Havelock Road, Hastings, at around 1.20pm on April 1. Staff at the bank reported a man entering the branch and handing over a threatening note demanding money, police said. The cashier challenged the man, who then left empty-handed.
Upon receiving this report, officers attended the last known address for Slattery and identified him walking in the vicinity. He was arrested on suspicion of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery, according to police.
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, a police spokesman said.
Slattery pleaded guilty to all three offences, police said, and was given a six-year extended sentence, comprising of four years in custody and two years on licence.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Jay Fair, said: “These incidents caused fear and distress to both the employees working in the banks, and to the wider public.
“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.”