An armed robber has been dubbed Britain’s dumbest crook after he took a TAXI from one bungled job to another – then forgot to put his BALACLAVA on.
Paul Easby, 37, first tried to rob a bank but after he left empty-handed hailed a cab and asked to be taken to a shop.
He told the cabbie to wait outside as he walked in the store and wandered around with his disguise in his HAND – all on CCTV.
Easby brandished a knife and grabbed cash but fled when the store worker pushed the panic button.
He jumped in the taxi and the unsuspecting drive drove off – only for police to stop and arrest Easby, of Plymouth, Devon, minutes later.
Easby pleaded guilty to attempting to rob a bank cashier and attempting to rob the Londis shop 1.3 miles away minutes later.
He was jailed for ten years at Plymouth Crown Court.
Prosecutor Paul Grumbar said Easby loitered in the Barclays branch for several minutes just after 10am.
He said Easby handed the cashier a note which said: “Give me the money or I will shoot you”.
But Mr Grumbar said the woman refused, pressed an alarm and snatched the note away – which was later found to carry Easby’s fingerprints.
He said: “Easby caught a taxi nearby straight to the Londis store. The cab stayed outside while Easby threatened [a worker] who was working alone in the store.
“He pointed the knife at the worker and said: ‘Give me the money, I am not afraid to use it’.
The court Easby left the bank empty handed then hailed a cab and went to the shop and asked the driver to wait outside.
Easby was captured walking unmasked up and down the isles before going to a private part of the store and putting on his balaclava.
He then approached the cashier with a knife and forced him to open the till and leaned over and helped himself to cash.
Easby then took off his balaclava just as he walked out the store before getting back into the back of the same taxi and was driven away.
Easby had begun his doomed spree on July 10 by being thwarted by a brave bank cashier despite threatening her with a gun.
He changed his plea on the day of his trial only about a week after seeing the CCTV for the first time with a solicitor.
Judge Simon Carr praised the “considerable bravery” shown by the woman who ignored Easby’s threat that he had a gun to press a panic alarm at the Barclays branch.
He said: “The bank cashier took four months before she could return to work and even when she did she was having nightmares.”
Easby, a father-of-two from Plymouth, has been a heroin addict since his early 20s and carried out the raid while high on a cocktail of drugs.
The court heard Easby had committed a string of armed robberies back in 2004, when he escaped with cash and jewellery worth ?80,000 from shops in Plymouth.
He turned cat burglar to break into an antiques shop in September 2010 when he shinned up a drainpipe and balanced on a model shark to get inside.
After the case, DC Glenn Harrop said: “These are serious offences and we are happy with the outcome. It is just good that nobody was hurt. Easby has reached the end of the road.”