Glynneath gambling addict took bag full of wires into shops and threatened to blow himself up
A GAMBLING addict carried out an unsophisticated series of robberies using a plastic bag full of wires and hand-written notes threatening to blow himself up.
Lloyd Kieran Jones, of Glynneath, is now back behind bars after embarking on a two-week spree at betting shops and travel agencies in Wales and England, which left some of his victims traumatised.
Cardiff Crown Court heard the 32-year-old carried out the attacks while out of prison on licence for robbery.
A judge was told the father-of-two used crude disguises in a pitiful attempt to hide his identity, such as wearing a plaster over one of his eyes.
But despite netting more than £7,000, jobless Jones frittered the money away on drink, drugs and taxi fares.
Prosecuting barrister Tony Trigg said: "His method in each case was to use a plastic carrier which had wires protruding from it and giving his female victims a hand-written note saying that unless they gave him money he would detonate a bomb.
"They did not know the bomb was not real and genuinely feared for their lives.
"Some of the women had to receive counselling and are still traumatised by what happened."
Jones's first attack was on September 21 last year, at the Ladbrokes betting shop in Commercial Street, Nelson, Caerphilly.
He entered the bookies smelling of alcohol and wearing a waterproof plaster over his right eye.
He handed a note to a cashier on which he had scrawled: "This is not a joke. There is a bomb in the bag. Keep calm."
However, despite trying to hide his voice by using the note, Jones immediately blew his own cover by producing a mobile phone and saying he would use it to detonate the bomb. He made off with around £400 in cash.
He carried out other robberies at Thomas Cook travel agents in Whitchurch, Cardiff, four days later; Thomson's travel agents in Riverside Quay, Haverfordwest, on September 28; a travel agents in Droitwich, Worcester, on October 10; and the Thomson travel agents in Worle, Weston-super-Mare, on October 15.
Jones then unsuccessfully tried to carry out two further robberies — at the Betfair branch in Lydney, Gloucestershire, on October 22, and the following day at a Thomson travel agency in St Peter's Street, Hereford.
On October 25, Jones carried out another robbery at the Thomson branch in Newtown, Powys.
He was arrested in Chippenham, Wiltshire, on October 30.
The court heard that while Jones carried out the robberies he was on licence from a three-year jail sentence issued in 2010 for targeting the Coral betting shop in Neath as well as a Ladbrokes in Port Talbot — making off with a total of more than £2,000.
Jones pleaded guilty to six counts of robbery and two of attempted robbery.
Defending, barrister David Rees said his client had a longstanding gambling addiction as well as drink and drug problems. Jones was jailed for seven and a half years.