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Inept would-be hacker gets three years in jail

Barclays blackmailer bungles blag

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A man has been convicted of blackmail after he threatened to hack into the computers of Barclays Bank unless he was paid £200 000.

Bungling blackmailer Stuart Kearns, 24, faces three years in prison after threatening the collapse of the computer system in the Barclays branch in Beckenham High Street and others in Barclays' network unless the bank complied with his extortion demands.

Kearns made his threat via a typed note he gave to bank staff. They called the police, and the would-be hacker was captured at his proposed cash drop off point, his own van which was parked nearby, later the same afternoon. This all happened in January. In a subsequent raid computer equipment was recovered from Kearns' house in Dorrington Court, in the South Norwood area of London.

Kearns earned his living as a van driver at the time of his arrest and Inner London Crown Court heard his attempts at crime were "ill-conceived and very amateurish".

Police were greatly assisted in their investigation when they discovered a four-page essay by Kearns on how to go about conducting a bank raid, the London Evening Standard reported. ®

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