Watford Co-Operative bank worker jailed for bomb hoax

Muhammed Qasim Salam, Faizan Rehman and Imran Khalifa Salam persuaded his friends Rehman and Khalifa to become his accomplices, the court heard

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A bank worker who strapped a fake bomb to his leg so accomplices could steal £161,000 from his branch of the Co-Op bank has been jailed for six years.
Muhammed Qasim Salam, 23, of Bracknell Close, Luton, caused a terrorist alert and a three-hour stand off with armed police in Watford on 2 June.
Imran Khalifa and Faizan Rehman, both 23 and of Luton, were jailed for five years each.
All three admitted conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to commit a bomb hoax.
'Inspired by Hollywood' The court heard Rehman entered the bank as a customer and while a colleague was distracted by a bogus 18-minute complaint call from Khalifa, Salam led him to the bank's safe.
Salam had earlier ensured a male colleague was out of the bank by giving him a fake appointment in Rickmansworth, and had slashed the bank manager's car tyres so he was delayed in getting to work.
While Rehman made his getaway with Khalifa, Salam strapped the fake bomb to his leg and called 999 in a plan inspired by Hollywood films, the court heard.
He claimed the device had been attached by a man with a gun who threatened to detonate it if the theft was broadcast on radio.
Police sealed off the town centre and laid siege at the bank in Market Street while the bomb squad and trained negotiators were called up.
Money in bush They became suspicious when he was seen walking around the bank, despite the "bomb" on his leg, the court heard.
He finally gave himself up and took police to Luton where a bag containing the money, a plastic gun and clothing was found in a bush.
Rehman, of Havelock Road, and Khalifa, of Maidenhead Road, both in Luton, were arrested later.
Timothy Clark, for Salam, said he was of previous good character but "obsessively viewed Hollywood films".
Mozammel Hossain, defending Rehman, said the university graduate had followed Salam's instructions, describing the crime as "an amateurish operation".
Matthew Sherratt, for Khalifa, said the graduate had wanted to use the proceeds to start his own business.
Judge Andrew Bright QC said: "The bomb hoax struck hearts and minds of bank employees and members of the public alike.
"Police numbers had to be mobilised to deal with the hoax. The cost has to have been many tens of thousands of pounds."


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