Published: 19:00, 12 March 2014
A man who claimed he had planted a bomb in Harrods has been jailed for 10 years for a string of armed robberies - including one in Kent.
David Williamson, 50, was given a 10-year prison sentence today for a series of raids across the country, and bomb threats around London.
Williamson, of no fixed address, started his robbery crime spree on October 25 2012, when he entered the Maidstone branch of The Money Shop.
Kingstone Crown Court heard he tried to get cash fraudulently, before being challenged by staff.
He left the shop, before returning soon afterwards and pointing a black handgun at staff.
Quick-thinking workers activated an emergency alarm, and he fled empty-handed.
Later that same day he produced a gun and demanded cash from a lone receptionist at the Delmere Hotel in London's Hyde Park.
He managed to escape with some cash before, two days later, he struck at a bureau de change counter in a Warrington shopping centre.
He told staff he wanted to buy £15,000 worth of euros.
When they challenged him, Williamson waved the gun at them, and they then handed over £4,000 cash.
In a dramatic twist, Williamson was tracked on CCTV leaving the centre and catching a bus.
Armed police stopped the bus and arrested Williamson, seizing the imitation gun and cash he had just stolen.
After he was taken into custody, Williamson's fingerprints were shown to match those from the Delmere Hotel and the Money Shop raids.
He was then arrested on November 15 2012 for the armed robberies in Kent and London.
It later turned out Williamson had made four phone calls to police just days before the robberies, on October 14, claiming there were several explosive devices planted across London and on the rail network.
On that same day he went into Harrods and left a note for staff in an envelope which again stated that a bomb had been planted.
He was arrested and dealt with for the Harrods bomb hoax by officers from the Flying Squad at the same time as the robbery matters.
He was found guilty by a jury at Kingston Crown Court in January this year.
The jail term for all offences added up comes to 10 years.
"These were terrifying attacks committed in broad daylight and caused all the victims involved to fear for their lives" - DC Joseph Agyei
Detective Constable Joseph Agyei from the MPS Flying Squad said: "These were terrifying attacks committed in broad daylight and caused all the victims involved to fear for their lives.
"Williamson showed an utter disregard for the victims he targeted in public places.
"I would like to pay tribute to victims and witnesses who supported police with the prosecution in the face of many challenges.
"I'd also like to thank our colleagues in Cheshire with whom we established an excellent working relationship that helped bring Williamson to justice."