A pair of bungling bank robbers ran away empty-handed just 25 seconds after they entered HSBC holding an axe and pushed an elderly lady over. 

At 10am on August 20, 2021 Dylan Evans and Michael Lowis charged into a high-street bank holding an axe and pushed a 77-year-old customer to the floor while telling a cashier “give us your f***ing money”. 

But a member of staff pressed an alarm button just moments after their heist began causing the criminal masterminds to run away while shouting “ABORT! ABORT!”. 

At the Old Bailey on Friday (August 18) the pair received lengthy prison sentences after they pleaded guilty to attempted robbery. 

On the day of the robbery, two female members of staff were working at the HSBC branch on Woodcote Road in Wallington, Sutton

Two customers were inside the bank - a 77-year-old lady who had just withdrawn money from an ATM and was in the process of depositing it, and a man who was using a self-service machine to pay in a cheque. 

“Mr Lowis and Mr Evans entered the branch, both wearing dark clothing with their head and faces covered. Mr Evans was holding an axe,” Prosecutor Ellie Sheahan said. 

“Mr Evans approached the cashier desk at the back of the branch while Mr Lowis held back at the entrance, guarding it ready to stop anyone from interfering with the robbery.” 

The 77-year-old woman was standing to the left of the cashier window and as Evans approach, he pushed her - causing her to fall and strike her head against the wall. 

Evans then told the cashier “give us your f***ing money” before hitting the glass security screen with an axe. 

Near the entrance to the store the male customer took a step away from the cash machine at which point Lowis warned him not to move. 

At this point the cashier leapt from her seat and ran out of sight to activate the alarm. 

“Evans ran to the other side of the branch looking for access to the secure area. When he couldn’t find a way in one of the men shouted ‘ABORT! ABORT!’ and they ran out of the store,” Ms Shean said. 

The elderly customer who was still lying on the floor said there was absolute silence when the bank robbers left and she assumed that everyone in the store was dead. 

“That must have been a terrifying experience for her. She remained in that position until she was helped by others,” Judge Simon Mayo KC said. 

Ten days later, with the suspects still at large, the 77-year-old woman told police she was too scared to go to the bank as she was petrified that they might be there and recognise her. 

News Shopper: Michael Lowis (left) guarded the entrance as Dylan Evans (right) tried to get staff to hand over moneyMichael Lowis (left) guarded the entrance as Dylan Evans (right) tried to get staff to hand over money (Image: Met Police)

The pair were tracked down due to a distinctive axe. CCTV revealed Evans had purchased it from B&Q the day before. 

Footage also showed that they had carried out recon on the bank 45 minutes before storming in. They were wearing the exact same clothes and Evans had his face uncovered. 

By the time they were identified as suspects they were already in prison having been recalled on other offences. 

When interviewed by police, both men denied any involvement. Lowis accepted buying the axe but said it was for “gardening purposes”. 

Lowis pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity while Evans eventually pleaded guilty on the day of his trial. 

Lowis and Evans are prolific offenders and both were on licence from prison when they attempted this bank robbery. 

Evans has 19 convictions for 41 offences. His many offences include an incident in which he ran into a Thomas Cook travel agent with a replica gun in 2009. 

Lowis has 28 convictions for 91 offences. These include robberies dating back to 1999 and in 2002 he was jailed for over five years for wounding with intent. 

The court heard that both men were drug addicts and that Lowis had a significant drug debt when the bank robbery was carried out. 

Defending Lowis, Stephen Page said: “The motivation for this offence was the same as the 91 other offences he has committed, his addiction to drugs.” 

Both men have made efforts to address their drug addictions while in prison, the court was told. 

Houzla Rawat, representing Evans, said her client’s personality was shaped childhood trauma and unstable education. 

“His IQ, while not amounting to a learning difficulty, is nonetheless a low IQ and would be considered well below average,” Ms Rawat said. 

Lowis and Evans would both be subject to a harsher sentence if Judge Mayo KC deemed that the bank robbery involved a significant amount of sophistication and planning.

Their barristers therefore attempted to convince him that this was not a sophisticated scheme. 

Ms Rawat said: “Clearly there was an axe which was bought the day before, but other than the axe there is no significant evidence of planning or sophistication.” 

News Shopper: The pair 'cased the joint' 45 minutes before their stormed in with an axeThe pair 'cased the joint' 45 minutes before their stormed in with an axe (Image: Street View)

The reconnaissance of the bank took place just 45 minutes before the heist and it simply involved them walking past the building. 

Ms Rawat described them as “out of their depth” and explained that they didn’t even try to work out the layout of the bank or the shift patterns of staff. 

“Considering they were in the bank for only seconds, it would seem to me that there hadn’t been any discussion over what to do if things were taking longer, where to go, or how to ensure money was handed over,” Ms Rawat said. 

“There was an agreement to rob a bank but there didn’t seem to be any plan beyond going in and shouting. When it started going wrong, and it did go wrong very clearly, they had no plan for what to do.” 

However, Judge Mayo said: “All of the facts, your actions before and during the event, lead me to conclude that this was a professional planned offence”. 

He told the pair: “Both of you have some very serious previous convictions. Those previous convictions make your current offending all the more serious.” 

As both men are considered a dangerous Judge Mayo gave each of them extended sentences to protect the public from harm. 

Lowis was given a prison sentence of 18 years and 8 months, with an additional four years to be served on licence. 

Evans was given a 25-year prison sentence with an additional four years to be served on licence.