A bandit who specialised in robbing travel agencies while armed with knives and a fake gun has been brought to justice, leaving a trail of shocked and shaken female travel consultants in his wake.
The “travel agency desperado” turned out to be Alan Roberts, 44, who received a hefty jail sentence in Liverpool Crown Court, England this week after admitting a string of agency robberies in the area.
Roberts specialised in travel agents. He burst into agencies wearing dark glasses and a scarf or bandana, using guns and knives to intimidate his victims. The gun was actually an imitation, the Liverpool Echo reported, but the weapons fooled his terrified victims.
Roberts’ method consisted of “shock and awe” rather than outright violence. His technique was to wave a knife in front of a consultant’s face and demand money.
On more than one occasion he ordered terrified staff to open safes, but time delay locks thwarted his plan. He still managed to make off with thousands of pounds in sterling and foreign currencies, each time being driven away in a getaway car by an unknown accomplice who police are still seeking.
On one occasion Roberts shouted “give me the money!” and then stuffed his trousers with about GBP 3000 in cash, the court heard.
A customer who witnessed one robbery said she was “petrified”.
The court heard that Roberts had twice previously been jailed for robberies – of travel agencies. He was jailed for nine years after robbing a travel agent in 2010 but released early – perhaps too early.
“You are a very dangerous individual,” Judge Denis Watson, QC, said as he sent Roberts to prison for 10 years and eight months, to be followed by another five years on parole.
Written by Peter Needham