Gambling addict who attempted to rob bank walks free

Crime news and court reports from the Peterborough Telegraph -
Crime news and court reports from the Peterborough Telegraph -
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A man who attempted to rob a bank in Peterborough by handing a written death threat to a cashier has walked free from court.

James McLees (27), of Newport Way, Ufford, near Stamford, handed the note to a cashier at Santander, in Long Causeway, on Friday, June 1, stating he had a gun and that he would kill the woman in her 50s if she did not empty money boxes into a bag.

When the money was not handed over, he left the bank empty-handed only to be caught minutes later at Tesco in Broadway, attempting to steal alcoholic drinks.

He gave security at Tesco his friend’s name, but he was arrested in Stamford on June 20 after police had examined CCTV of the Santander robbery.

McLees admitted being a gambling addict and £4000 in debt from catalogues and payday loans and said he had just lost his job. However, he said any money he had got away with would probably have been spent on gambling.

On the day of the crime, he said he had been drinking and taken Valium to get his confidence up.

At Peterborough Crown Court today, Judge Nic Madge handed him a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years after he pleaded guilty to attempted robbery at an earlier hearing.

He was also given a one-year supervision order, 150 hours of unpaid work, a six month curfew between 7pm and 6am, Thursday to Sunday, enforced by electronic monitoring, and prohibited from entering any betting establishment for two years.

DC Liam Sweeney, who investigated, said: “This was a frightening experience for staff at the bank and McLees refused to admit his guilt until the evidence was placed before him.

“He was clearly desperate for money but that is no excuse for committing such as serious crime.

“I hope this sentence will encourage McLees to mend his ways and stay the right side of the law.”