Alan Bourne - now behind bars.

A ROBBER who was caught just minutes after holding up a Rye bank has been jailed.

Staff at the HSBC bank were terrified after the balaclava clad robber indicated a handgun in a plastic bag telling them, “I’ve got this”.

They handed over £2,000 cash but police pounced on the robber within moments of him leaving the High Street bank thanks to prompt actions from a member of the public.

Alan Bourne, 44 years, of Marine Terrace, Folkestone, Kent was sentenced to two years imprisonment for robbery and one year (concurrent) for possessing an imitation firearm when he pleaded guilty to both matters at Lewes Crown Court on December 23.

At 3.45pm on September 9 police received an emergency call reporting that the HSBC Bank had been robbed.

Staff reported that a male had entered the branch wearing a balaclava and holding a bag in which there was a handgun shaped object. He approached a till and demanded money and told the cashier “I’ve got this”, indicating to the bag with the gun shaped within. The cashier handed over cash and the male left.

Officers who attended the incident commenced an area search and were quickly flagged down by a witness who had been in the HSBC at the time of the robbery. He had followed the offender from the bank and had flagged down the police and pointed the offender out to the officers.

The defendant had been holding a bag when stopped and when one of the officers made a brief search of the bag he saw a handgun shape in a plastic bag. The defendant was arrested on suspicion of robbery.

The clothing recovered from the defendant matched that worn by the offender, he was in possession of £2,000 cash in bank bands, he was in possession of a balaclava and he was in possession of a ‘BB’ handgun.

Detective Inspector Ian Williams said: “Armed robbery is a rare occurrence and Rother District has unusually seen a number of robberies over the past year. In nearly every instance the culprits have been caught, as in this occasion often with the help of the community who have tackled suspects or provided key evidence to the police to facilitate early arrests.

“This man received a two year prison sentence for what is in effect his first criminal conviction with a guilty plea, this sends out a clear message that the people of Rother will not stand by whilst crimes are committed and the criminal justice system will deal with offenders robustly.

“I would like to thank anyone who provides assistance to the police and praise the quick thinking and bravery of the witness in this case.”