Fishponds bank robber jailed for ‘terrifying’ attacks

A MAN who carried out “terrifying” knifepoint robberies of a Fishponds bank and shop has been jailed for nine years.

Marcus Laing also robbed a woman in her home during a five-day period in May.

Avon and Somerset police said 43-year-old Laing made off with “hundreds of pounds of cash” to pay for drugs.

Laing, of Rodney Road, St George, was jailed at Bristol Crown Court today after admitting three counts of robbery and three counts of being in possession of a bladed article.

Sentencing judge Martin Picton described him as a “dangerous offender” and said he would have to spend an extra five years on licence after his sentence ends.

The first robbery happened on May 18 at a convenience store on Forest Road, Fishponds.

Avon and Somerset police said Laing “walked straight behind the counter and threatened a member of staff with a kitchen knife and demanded she open the till,” adding: “He made off with cash and left the victim terrified.”

Two days later Laing went to a house in Burchells Green Close, St George, threatened a woman in her 30s who lived there, and robbed her.

On May 23 he went into the NatWest bank on Fishponds Road when it opened at 9.30am.

A police spokesperson said: “He walked up to two of the bank tellers, threatened them with a knife and demanded they open the tills.

“He made off on an e-scooter, leaving staff and customers terrified and causing the bank to close for the rest of the day.”

Sentencing Laing, Judge Picton said he had a “terrible record” which dated back decades and there was a “significant risk” of him committing further offences.

The judge told Laing: “You stopped caring about anything else other than your desire to get drugs.

“These incidents had an impact on all concerned.”

Afterwards investigating officer DC Laurence Castle, from the police Operation Remedy team, said: “The three robberies were terrifying ordeals for the victims and members of the public to witness.

“Following the robberies, police were able to obtain CCTV of Laing returning to his home address after each incident and he was arrested during the evening of the third incident.

“Officers who searched Laing after his arrest found him in possession of distinctive Scottish banknotes, which he had stolen earlier that day from the bank in Fishponds Road.

“While, thankfully, there were no injuries caused by Laing, his use of a knife to threaten innocent members of the east Bristol community, who were otherwise going about their day, cannot be tolerated.

“The sentence handed to him today reflects the incredibly serious and harmful nature of the offences.

“We hope this sends a clear message to anyone thinking about committing these crimes that we will not stand for it and they will be found and brought to justice.”

Picture: CCTV footage (left) shows Marcus Laing (right) taking money from a drawer at NatWest in Fishponds Road after threatening cashiers