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Knifepoint robber Paul Neaverson jailed for raiding HSBC and NatWest banks in Rainham High Street


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An inept robber twice tried to rob banks while armed with a knife – and both times left empty-handed.

Paul Neaverson later claimed he was homeless and needed money to travel to Corfu to take up a job at a golf club.

His lawyer Danny Moore said: “There was no disguise. It was ridiculous. It only had one ending – and here it is.”

Paul Neaverson has been jailed for the armed robberies
Paul Neaverson has been jailed for the armed robberies

The 61-year-old offended for the first time when he went in HSBC Bank in Rainham shopping centre on the afternoon of March 16.

Prosecutor Ed Conell said Neaverson demanded £500 but when told by the cashier he did not have it in his till he turned around and walked out.

Not to be deterred, shortly afterwards he went to the nearby NatWest Bank and told a cashier: “Put £500 in my account or on the counter.”

He took the knife out of his pocket and pointed it at the cashier, who quickly pressed his panic button.

Neaverson also targeted the HSBC in Rainham High Street
Neaverson also targeted the HSBC in Rainham High Street

Neaverson had put the weapon back in his pocket, but another customer saw what was happening and took it from him.

He walked out of the bank but was arrested by police patrolling the area.

Neaverson made full admissions and said his only income was disability allowance.

“He said he had secured a job as a golf coach in Corfu,” Mr Connell told Maidstone Crown Court. “He said he decided to go to Rainham and in desperation decided to engage in these matters.

“He was desperate to get out of the country.”

"Neaverson was previously of good character and has learned the hard way that crime is not the answer when you are struggling to make a living" - DS Dan Barker

Neaverson, of no fixed address, was jailed for two years after admitting two offences of robbery and possessing a bladed article.

Mr Moore said alcoholic Neaverson had unrealistic plans to go to the Greek island.

“He says he very much hopes to take up that job opportunity on his release,” said Mr Moore.

“He has led a law-abiding life and now finds himself staring down the barrel of a very long sentence indeed.

“The reality is the sentence doesn’t have to be that long to punish him and satisfy the policy for cases like this.

“One suspects anyone hearing the peculiar circumstances of the offences would say he doesn’t need to go to prison for a very long time.”

Mr Moore added: “Tellers are behind reinforced bullet-proof glass. Unless they take leave of their senses in offering the money, it is not going to work."

Recorder Matthew McDonagh said it must have been very frightening for bank staff.

The starting point for sentence was four years imprisonment, but because of Neaverson’s background could be substantially reduced.

Weldrick targeted two NatWest banks
Weldrick targeted two NatWest banks

“Although frightening, no real danger developed for victims and members of the public because of the unsophisticated way it was committed,” he added.

After sentencing, DS Dan Barker said: “Neaverson was previously of good character and has learned the hard way that crime is not the answer when you are struggling to make a living.

“He will now have plenty of time to learn the error of his ways.

“I would like to pay tribute to the member of public who showed great courage in removing the knife from Neaverson’s pocket, remaining calm in what must have been a tense situation.

“This was also a great example of neighbourhood police working quickly with CCTV operators to secure the arrest of a dangerous individual.”

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