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Fugitive 'Skull Cracker' in court over bank raid

By Tom Pugh

A man has appeared in court charged with carrying out an armed robbery during five days on the run from an open prison.

Michael Wheatley (55), nicknamed 'Skull Cracker', was arrested in Tower Hamlets, east London, on Wednesday after allegedly raiding the Chelsea Building Society in Surrey of £18,350.

He appeared at South East Surrey Magistrates Court in Redhill charged with robbery, possession of an imitation firearm and being unlawfully at large.

Prosecutor Darren Matravers said Wheatley carried out the robbery after going missing on May 3 while out on temporary licence from a jail on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

Wheatley was remanded in custody to appear at Guildford Crown Court on May 29.

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