Farcical finale to brothers' bank raid

IT NEVER happens like this in films, but when the bank raid started, a woman gave up her place in the queue and walked out to raise the alarm.

The first person she saw was a traffic warden who had stopped to give her a ticket; then she saw a friendly face - that of her husband - among nine other traffic wardens waiting near by in a van, and she told him what was happening inside the bank.

The waiting minicab driver might also have been interested: Mark and Thomas Huntley had decided against a getaway car, opting instead for a taxi.

When ordering it, the brothers might just as well have said: 'Hello, is that the car hire firm? Could you send a cab round to the Trustee Savings Bank in Southwark, south London, please - we'll be the ones wearing dark glasses and carrying a bag of swag. Don't worry about the shotgun, it's only imitation.'

They did not say that, but by the time they emerged carrying pounds 2,500, the driver knew what was going on. So did everyone else, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

As the Huntleys ordered the man to drive away, six labourers, a police photographer who happened to be passing, and some officers in a patrol car all joined the 10 traffic wardens in the chase.

The Keystone Cops farce started when the brothers walked into the bank and joined the queue.

No masks for them, although they did wear dark glasses. One removed his glasses to see if there were any security cameras. There were, and perhaps it was these that put them off their stride.

They waited until they reached the front of the queue before slipping a note to the cashier demanding money - but not before one of them nearly dropped the 'gun', which was actually two iron bars in a shopping bag.

Then came the chase, and an undignified end as the police photographer - who had taken photos throughout the chase - blocked the minicab.

Then off to the Old Bailey, where the brothers admitted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm, and were jailed for six years.

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