19th Oct, 2017

Bank robber who escaped with £10k 'unluckily' arrested for shoplifting

Coventry Editorial 7th Sep, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

AN unlucky bank robber made a clean get-away with more than £10,000 – only to get home to find the police waiting to arrest him for an earlier shoplifting offence.

Chandeep Samra tried to flee, but was chased by officers who arrested him after a struggle and recovered the bag of cash from a nearby garden.

Samra (36) of Over Street, Bell Green, Coventry, was jailed for six-and-a-half years after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the robbery at Lloyds Bank, Foleshill Road.

Prosecutor Ian Speed said that at 10am on May 19 cashier Susan Walker, who had worked for Lloyds for 28 years, was serving a customer at the branch when Samra came in.

He was clothed head-to-toe in black, with his hood up and wearing a balaclava mask, although it only covered the lower part of his face.

He told her: “I’ve got a gun. Give me the money.”

Mr Speed said Ms Walker described what she thought was a gun in the bag Samra was carrying, but in fact there was a knife rather than a gun in the bag when it was found by the police.

After some money was handed over, Samra told her he was not afraid to use the gun – and was given more cash before leaving the bank with £10,516.

“It was pure coincidence that two police officers visited his home that day to arrest him for an offence of shoplifting.

When he was questioned Samra, who had a conviction for robbery in 2002 and numerous shoplifting convictions, denied the offence.

Mr Speed, who said Samra had been given a conditional discharge for the shoplifting offence, added Ms Walker was shaken up by her experience, which has made her very apprehensive at work.

Talbir Singh, defending, said Samra was ‘a man in the grip of a drug addiction’.

He added: “In early 2015 his small two-year-old child died from a brain tumour, and it had a devastating effect on him and his family, and he went back into the vortex he had been in of drugs and drink.”

Mr Singh said that put Samra in debt, and the people he owed were putting him under pressure to repay it.

Jailing Samra, Recorder Abigail Nixon told him: “It was only by chance you were arrested by the police; very lucky for them and unlucky for you, because they were coming to arrest you for a minor matter of shoplifting ten minutes after you had left the bank with your swag.

“You went into the bank and you terrified Susan Walker, telling her you had a gun. That was extremely frightening indeed, and no doubt her life flashed in front of her.

“You also inconvenienced the local community and that bank, because you cleaned it out, effectively, and they had to shut down for the day.

“I accept a personal tragedy in your life caused you to go back to drug addiction, but that does not give you any excuse.”

Samra was also ordered to pay a recently-introduced £900 court charge – but Recorder Nixon said he should pay at £1 a month out of any prison wages he gets.

She pointed out that if, after two years, he has done his best to pay it and not committed any other criminal offence, he can apply to have that order discharged.

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