Man’s handwriting was so bad Eastbourne bank staff didn’t know he was trying to rob them

A man who tried to rob a bank in Eastbourne with a hand-written note has been jailed, according to police.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 12:52 pm

Police said Alan Slattery, 67, retired, of Stonehouse Drive, St Leonards, was given a six-year extended sentence when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, July 16.

Slattery entered three banks in Eastbourne and Hastings in the space of two weeks, and used written notes to ask the cashiers to hand over money, officers said.

According to police, his first attempt was at the Nationwide Building Society in Terminus Road, Eastbourne, at 10.45am on March 18, 2021, but due to ‘poor’ handwriting, the employee was unable to read the note and Slattery left empty-handed.

Alan Slattery. Picture from Sussex Police. SUS-211108-130219001

A Sussex Police spokesperson said, “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.”

Police said on March 26 Slattery entered the Nationwide Building Society branch in London Road, St Leonards where he handed a ‘threatening’ note over to the cashier who, in fear for her safety, handed over £2,400 in cash.

The spokesperson said, “As enquiries were ongoing to trace Slattery, police received a call from the NatWest bank in Havelock Road, Hastings, around 1.20pm on April 1.

Alan Slattery's note. Picture from Sussex Police. SUS-211108-130208001

“Staff at the bank reported a man entering the branch and handing over a threatening note demanding money. The cashier challenged the man, who then left empty-handed.”

Upon receiving this report, officers said they attended the last known address for Slattery and identified him walking in the vicinity.

Slattery was arrested on suspicion of robbery and two counts of attempted robbery, according to police.

The spokesperson said, “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.

Alan Slattery on CCTV. Picture from Sussex Police. SUS-211108-130522001

Slattery pleaded guilty to all three offences, and was given a six-year extended sentence, consisting 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.”