Robber held up bank with ‘note’

THREATS: The scene at Nationwide, Preston and (below) James Reilly, 52
THREATS: The scene at Nationwide, Preston and (below) James Reilly, 52
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A bank robber who held up a building society with a handwritten note has been jailed for 15 years after drunkenly confessing his crimes to medics the next day.

James Reilly walked into the Nationwide Building Society in Fishergate, Preston, at 1.30pm on April 7 and wrote on a product information leaflet: “I am armed.

James Reilly

James Reilly

“I will shoot the first customer without (pto) hesitation if you don’t give me £5,000.”

The 52-year-old was given a quantity of cash and made his getaway on foot but the next day he collapsed intoxicated in the street in Blackpool.

In his drunken state, he believed ambulance staff who had come to his aid were police officers, and he confessed that he was a bank robber.

He was arrested by officers from Lancashire Police and charged by officers from the Met Police’s Flying Squad.

Scottish born Reilly, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to robberies of banks in London and Preston, and to the attempted robbery of a bank in Northampton.

He was sentenced for a robbery in Brockley, in which he again wrote notes to cashers threatening to shoot people.

The court heard shortly before 11am on March 31, Reilly entered Barclays Bank in Brockley Road, Brockley, and passed a demand note, written on a betting slip, to the female cashier.

The note instructed: “Fill these bags with money. Don’t lock doors. I am armed. If you f*** about I will shoot everyone.”

The following day, at around 12.15pm, Reilly entered Santander in Market Square, Northampton, passing a similar note to the cashier.

But the bank’s security system was activated, and Reilly fled empty-handed.

After committing the Preston offence on April 7 he was identified as a suspect and circulated as a wanted man.