Bank Robber Held Under Mental Health Act

A robber who raided a bank and then went to a pub, threw the cash in the air and said, "the drinks are on me'' was today detained under the Mental Health Act.

Christopher Allnut, 42, went into Barclays Bank in Winchester, Hampshire, in August this year and told female staff:

"Good morning, I'm here to rob you today. Give me £5,000 and I will **** off. Do not keep me waiting or I will shoot.''

Terrified bank manager, Wendy Grocott, handed over £1,600 to Allnut, who left and walked 40 yards to the Wetherspoon's-run Old Gaol House, probably dropping about £350 on the pavement later recovered by bank staff, Winchester Crown Court heard.

Once inside he threw the rest of the money in the air saying: "I have just robbed a bank and the drinks are on me.''

He said he went there because poor people often drink in the pub.

He then told police he had a drink before he left and lay in the road where he was arrested.

Only about £600 of the cash was recovered, officers said at the time.

Allnut, from Southampton, who suffers from mental health problems, pleaded guilty earlier to robbery.

He had been drinking at the time and had twice gone to a Southampton police station to try and get himself arrested but he was told to go away, even though he admitted he had stolen a bottle of whisky.

In mitigation, the court heard that Allnut immediately told police he was sorry for scaring the women and that he did not have a gun.

Imposing an indefinite hospital order, Judge Keith Cutler said: "The robbery you committed must have been a frightening and distressing act for those ladies.''

He added that the cash had gone into "the grateful arms of those sitting in Wetherspoon's.''