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A hapless robber cocked up his attempt at raiding a post office when the cashier couldn’t understand what he was saying – or even read his threatening note.
Gormless Martin Travers went to the post office in central Birmingham last July wearing a hoodie and sunglasses and carrying a shoebox, and told the woman behind the counter to “Put it in now”.
“But she did not understand what he was saying," prosecutor Harinderpal Dhami told Birmingham Crown Court.
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"He repeated what he said and placed a piece of paper on the counter but she was unable to read the writing. He then said, 'You have 40 seconds, put the money in the box’," reports Birmingham Live.
“She still did not understand, and he then said, 'You now have 20 seconds’."
Travers, frustrated at how his attempts at the robbery were unfolding, then walked out empty-handed, telling the woman he would “pop” her.
He tried to resurrect his plan at a nearby bookies, where his attempted crime spree had only a little more success following further communication difficulties.
Travers demanded money from the woman behind the counter there, too, “but due to the mask he was wearing she could not quite understand him”, the prosecutor told the court.
In something reminiscent of Woody Allen’s I Have a Gub, Apt Natural scene in Take The Money And Run, he then produced a piece of paper – but it had phone numbers written on it.
The cashier told him that she couldn’t call them, but he then turned it over where the demand was written.
When she refused to co-operate, Travers – who was carrying a shoebox – told her there was something in it that "could go off”, before placing it on the counter.
As the woman called the cops, Travers tried to grab cash from a till. The cashier tried to close it and he managed to snatch only £15 before leaving, taking the shoebox with him.
After Travers, 32, of Markby Road, Hockley, was later nabbed by police, the shoebox was recovered and found to contain a wifi booster and a plastic tub designed to appear like an improvised explosive device.
In mitigation, Queenie Djan said Travers was addicted to drugs and alcohol but had made progress while in custody.
Travers, who had previously admitted robbery and attempted robbery on July 6 last year, was jailed for four years and 10 months. Judge Andrew Smith KC said he had made great efforts to make the device look like a bomb and that he had been hoping for "significant reward”.
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