Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Robber Wearing Fake Bomb Told Staff He Was ISIS Chief

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Robber Wearing Fake Bomb Told Staff He Was ISIS Chief

Article excerpt

A ROBBER used an imitation gun and a fake bomb made from household goods to steal thousands of pounds from banks.

The device, which had 'TNT' written on the side of three spray cans and an LCD screen taped to the front, was strapped to Michael Thorpe's chest as he threatened terrified employees during a crime spree last summer.

Drug addict Thorpe used a range of props - including an imitation pistol, voice distorter and a burka - in raids across south Manchester, Stockport and Cheshire.

He also claimed to be 'a high commander of ISIS' during one robbery at Tesco Express in Wythenshawe and threatened a heavily pregnant worker in Stockport.

After handing a threatening note over a bank counter in Bramhall, one brave worker screwed it up and told him to 'get lost',' Manchester Crown Court heard.

Thorpe, 39, from Benchill was jailed for 19 years at Manchester Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery. He carried out five raids, handing notes over the counter to cashiers demanding cash, prosecutors said.

The thug and his accomplice, his girlfriend Rochelle Holman, 31, were caught in December last year, nearly five months after the first robbery.

Holman also admitted conspiracy to rob and was jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

The court heard how the pair, both of Crossgate Avenue, Benchill, were drug addicts.

Holman was in rent arrears and was being threatened with eviction from her Wythenshawe home, and Thorpe said he was in debt to criminal associates, it was said.

In the first robbery, at RBS in Cheadle on July 13 last year at about 2.20pm, Thorpe wore a motorbike helmet and dark clothing and handed over a note saying he was 'working for ISIS' to a male cashier.

Staff took the threat seriously after noticing he had what appeared to be a bomb strapped to him. In fact it was an imitation.

The next robbery took place at RBS in Sale on August 30 at 1. …

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