A smartly-dressed bank raider who planned his crime while sitting in the back of a taxi was jailed today.
Armed with nothing more than a marker pen when he entered the bank on January 12, dark-suited Ryan Fuller told staff at the NatWest branch he had a knife and threatened to take hostages if they did not co-operate.
The terrified cashier activated the silent alarm before passing £3,379 in cash to the smiling Fuller.
He then fled the bank, in Bletchley, in the same taxi he hired to take him there before making his way to the Channel Islands, where detectives eventually caught up with him.
When he was brought back to England, he pleaded guilty to one count of robbery.
Appearing via video link from HMP Woodhill, bespectacled Fuller was jailed for 21 months at Aylesbury Crown Court, sitting in Amersham.
The offence was plainly planned to some extent and a large sum of money was targetedRecorder Andrew Wright
Recorder Andrew Wright, sentencing, told the court the attack had had a lasting impact on the cashier who Fuller confronted, adding: “It hit her pretty hard.”
Mr Recorder Wright agreed it had not been a “professionally planned” robbery but said: “The offence was plainly planned to some extent and a large sum of money was targeted.”
The court heard that Fuller, of no fixed address, had recently lost his business, putting him in financial trouble. On the day of the robbery his brother told him he could no longer live where he was staying.
John Lamb, mitigating, said it was this announcement that sowed the seed for the raid that occurred a short time later, with Fuller hoping to get money to pay for accommodation.
Mr Lamb said it was probably less than an hour before the robbery that Fuller decided to do it.
The 24-year-old got a taxi to pick him up from a McDonald’s restaurant in Milton Keynes with the intention of going to nearby Flitwick.
Fuller asked the driver to stop in Napier Street so he could pick something up. The defendant said he would be five to 10 minutes and left his bag in the taxi.
Wearing a suit and tie, he then went into a nearby NatWest branch and, after initially telling the cashier he wanted to pay in a cheque, he produced a note he had written in the taxi.
It said simply: “Remain calm, stay silent, do not cause a panic.
“I have a knife and I will take hostages if I have to.
“This is not a joke.”
The cashier activated the silent alarm without Fuller realising and got her manager’s attention, who told her to do as Fuller demanded.
As she gathered together £50, £20 and £10 notes, the cashier asked Fuller if he wanted it in an envelope but he smiled and said: “No, I’m in a hurry.”
Once he had the money, Fuller ran back to the waiting taxi and told the driver someone had robbed the bank with a gun.
He then fled to Jersey, where Fuller intended to enjoy life before his “inevitable” arrest. CCTV images of the raid clearly showed Fuller carrying out the robbery.
The court was told that when he was interviewed by police, Fuller said he had written the note so he would be taken seriously.
He said: “I did not think they would give me money as I do not look like a bank robber.”
Mr Lamb said Fuller had apologised for the stress his “opportunistic” actions had caused the bank cashier and that his actions were out of character for a man with no previous convictions.
Fuller nodded and showed no emotion as he was handed his sentence.