A woman who robbed a Grantham bank and attempted to rob another has been handed two concurrent two-year prison sentences.
Nicola Lehair was sentenced today at Lincoln Crown Court after admitting the robbery and attempted robbery of the banks earlier this year in the town.
At around 2.30pm on April 30 Lehair, 28, entered the Yorkshire Bank on the High Street in Grantham and demanded money from staff. She claimed to have a gun but no weapon was seen. She then fled the bank on foot, having made off with just over £2,300.
Police were called and launched a thorough investigation, trawling through CCTV images and dispatching numerous officers in the area to carry out witness interviews and follow up the various leads that came into the Force.
Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said that 15 days later Lehair, wearing sunglasses and a peaked cap in a bid to disguise herself, entered the Santander Bank in Grantham and waited patiently in the queue before handing a note to the cashier. She again demanded cash but walked out when the cashier appeared to hesitate.
Lehair, of Goodliff Road, Grantham, admitted robbery on April 30 and attempted robbery on May 15.
Recorder Patrick Upward QC told her “Offences of this kind inevitably lead to a prison sentence. I bear in mind you are a woman of good character and you were under considerable pressure. No weapon was used or produced.”
Mark McNeil, defending, said that after losing her job in January Lehair took out a pay day loan and got into financial difficulties as she had no income to repay the money.
He said she was under pressure from the loan firm and added “This is out of character. She felt so desperate financially. She didn’t tell her husband. She felt in despair.”
Following her guilty pleas at a previous hearing at Lincoln Crown Court, Lehair was jailed for two years for each offence to run concurrently.
Speaking after the culmination of the case DI Pete Grayson, of Grantham CID, said: “We are pleased with the sentence imposed by the court, which reflects how serious the crimes were that Lehair carried out.
“Not only did she terrify and show total disregard for bank staff when she walked into those two establishments and claimed to have a gun, but she also tried to steal from the hard-working members of our communities who had their funds invested in those banks.
“Part of her reasoning for carrying out this robbery and attempting another was that the pressures of her difficult financial situation were weighing so heavy that she was driven to extreme measures. I don’t accept that. Many people in our society are facing similar hardships and don’t act in a similar way, or even consider it.
“We hope that the successful prosecution and conviction of Lehair will demonstrate how committed Lincolnshire Police is to tackling all types of serious crime.”