Terrified staff have been left with lasting mental scars after a man robbed a Luton bank using a fake bomb.
Ion Craciunescu left a parcel on the counter of the Co-Operative Bank in Alma Street, as he fled with the money he had stolen.
As Craciunescu, 64, was jailed for two years, Detective Constable Mandy Godfree, who investigated the incident, said: “The members of staff were genuinely terrified and scared for their life, not knowing that the device left behind at the scene was not viable.
“This kind of experience leaves long lasting mental scars which will take time to heal.”
On December 7 last year, Craciunescu, from Romania, walked into the bank and demanded money.
He issued threats to staff members by saying he had a bomb and would detonate it if his demands were not met.
The staff handed him the money and he left the premises, leaving his bag containing the fake bomb on the counter.
The bomb was later found not to be a viable explosive device, but a bunch of tissues wrapped in a black fabric and a TV remote he stole from a hotel room.
CCTV images of Craciunescu were published in a large scale appeal to find him. He handed himself in to British Transport Police officers in Manchester on January 9.
Craciunescu said that he spent all the money he stole on adult entertainment venues, hotels and alcohol.
He was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Monday after pleading guilty to committing the bank robbery.
DC Godfree said: “In an interview Craciunescu has admitted to committing the robbery and using a mock device to threaten bank staff.
“He has also said that he knew what he did is wrong and although we are satisfied that he has accepted the responsibility for his actions, this was still an appalling crime.”