Terrified staff feared for lives as ‘calm’ burglar robbed cash

Ashley Clarke

Ashley Clarke - Credit: Archant

A robber was so calm when carrying out his crimes that, despite raiding a busy bank, customers in Stamford Hill were oblivious to the fact he was threatening a woman.

Ashley Clarke, 33, of Amhurst Road, Upper Clapton, was identified following a media appeal in April and has now been jailed for three years.

Clarke was caught on camera robbing a local bookmakers and a bank last year, when he stole around £3,000.

On November 25 at around 6pm he walked into William Hill in Wilton Way, London Fields and told a cashier he had a gun and calmly demanded money. She handed him cash and he fled.

The next morning he casually queued for several minutes for counter services at Barclays Bank in Stamford Hill before threatening a cashier, telling her he had a gun.

The cashier activated a silent alarm and Clarke, noticing this, told her: “You’ve pressed the alarm, you’ve got one minute.”

She gave him money and again he quickly left the building.

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Investigating officer Det Con Mark Gladman, of the MPS Flying Squad, thanked the media and the public for identifying Clarke.

He said: “Clarke was so calm when carrying out these robberies that even when he robbed a busy bank, customers seemed oblivious to the fact that he was threatening a woman.

“Although he was calm in his manner, he terrified the cashiers and made them fear for their lives. I hope they are reassured by the fact that Clarke is now behind bars.”

The Met’s Flying Squad released images of Clarke carrying out the robberies on April 2, after exhausting numerous lines of enquiry.

Information received from the public in response to the appeal identified him and detectives arrested him days later on April 8.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery and was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday July 17.