A pensioner has been found guilty of inciting a bomb scare, after writing a note threatening to blow up a Santander branch.
Reginald Esqulant, 73, from West Kingsdown, Kent, petrified staff at the branch in Sevenoaks, back in February.
His hand-written note warned staff that if they didn’t hand over money, he would set of an explosive device which he had set up in the building, Maidstone Crown Court heard.
Customers and staff were told not to move or call the police, with the note suggesting that if they did ‘harm to staff or members of the public would be their responsibility’.
The letter said the cash would have to be put in black bin bangs and left in the doorway of a nearby empty shop.
As Reginald wandered over to the checkpoint ‘vigilant’ staff called police, with authorities than sealing off large parts of the town in response.
Bomb disposal experts than carried out a controlled explosion on the mysterious package, which turned out to be a broken paving slab wrapped in a hessian bag and placed in a cardboard box, The Sun reports .
Reginald was arrested the day after when the vehicle he borrowed from a friend, who had no knowledge of his criminal intentions, he used to travel to the bank was spotted by authorities.
Esqulant was found guilty of blackmail, taking a motor vehicle without consent and driving while disqualified.
Detective Sergeant Jon Faulkner from Kent Police said:
Esqulant’s actions not only caused extreme distress and fear to staff at the bank, but they also brought the centre of Sevenoaks to a standstill, leading to widespread disruption for residents and loss of trade for local business. The construction of a hoax device showed Esqulant had planned to cause maximum fear in order to try and steal a large amount of money. Thankfully the vigilance of the bank employees prevented him from doing so and helped us quickly track him down.
He is due to be sentenced in November.