Beginner bank robber downloaded online 'how to' crime guide
A "beginner" bank robber who struck at branches across the country and threatened customers with a knife and gun has been jailed for 11 years.
Gregory Dike, from London, downloaded online crime guides, including one called "How to Rob a Bank".
Dike, 38, carried out raids in Leeds, Liverpool and Middlesex before he was arrested in Rowley Regis, in the Black Country, in March.
He admitted 10 charges at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
'Undoubtedly a beginner'
The court heard Dike carried out raids at Betfred in Leeds, escaping with £175, and Lloyds Bank branches in Tuebrook, Liverpool, where he stole £1,000, and Ickenham, Middlesex, where he stole £4,300.
He also tried to hold up a branch of Barclays in West Derby, Liverpool.
He then stole £1,000 from NatWest in High Street, Rowley Regis.
During the raids, he threatened staff, held an imitation firearm to a customer's head and, in his last raid, pulled a hunting knife on a customer.
Dike, of 52 Alcric Avenue, Harlesden, London, was caught after he ordered a taxi as a getaway vehicle in the Rowley Regis raid.
The taxi driver realised what was happening and refused to wait.
Dike tried carjacking two motorists, including a pensioner who was dragged from his vehicle, but was caught by two police officers.
Dike was jailed after admitting four robberies, an attempted robbery, and firearms offences.
Det Con Darren Brown said it was unclear what had led Dike to carry out such violent robberies.
"He was undoubtedly a beginner − we found robbery 'self-help' downloads on his phone," he said.
"But he'd done a lot of research and made efforts to cover his tracks.
"He used various aliases when booking hotels and taxis and struck across the country in the hope it would be difficult for police forces to make links."