A TEENAGE employee demanded £1m from a security company and threatened to detonate bombs fitted to its vehicles if he was not paid, a court has heard.

Daniel Garland, of Durham Place, Chester-le-Street, denies blackmailing G4S in a letter sent to the general manager of a depot in Thornaby, near Stockton, in January.

A jury heard he was the author of a letter which threatened to blow up vehicles and also "cause harm" to the partner and new-born baby of a colleague.

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Prosecutor Paul Rooney told Teesside Crown Court: "This case concerns a letter which was sent by the defendant, Daniel Garland, to his employers G4S.

"In the letter, he demands £1m from them and makes threats to cause explosions and he infers he will cause harm to a new-born baby and her mother if his demands are not met."

A G4S van was robbed in December in Middlesbrough and the raiders who got away with a substantial amount of cash have not been caught, the jury heard.

The author claimed responsibility for the raid, named two employees as being "inside men" and said they had been paid so much for their

information that he now required a further £1m, Mr Rooney told the court.

The jury heard the blackmailer wanted the cash to be loaded into a red Volvo lorry that would be parked outside the depot the following day.

Mr Rooney said: "The letter went on to state he fitted mini bombs to a number of G4S vehicles as well as employees' vehicles. It was indicated

these bombs could be detonated by remote control."

The prosecution say Garland, 19, referred to an employee who had just returned to work after the birth of his baby, leaving his partner alone during working hours.

Mr Rooney said: "If payment was not made then the author of the letter and others would be paying them a visit while they were alone."

The message also said the robbers would be heavily armed and were not "scared" to force their way into the depot if £1m in notes was not there for them.

Mr Rooney said: "It was reiterated that failure to load £1m into the lorry, or if the police were present, would result in the bombs being detonated.

"This was blackmail, say the Crown."

Depot boss Dean Jeffels told the jury that he felt "terrified" when he received the anonymous letter threatening to detonate bombs under workers' cars if he did not pay the money.

The court heard how Cleveland Police were informed and a major investigation, with a Chief Superintendent in charge of it, was launched.

Vehicles were brought back to the base for checking by sniffer dogs and specialist teams, while the depot's 134 employees who were on duty were prevented from going home.

Police believed from the level of information that an employee was the author, and they identified Garland as a suspect.

After his arrest, they found a spare copy of the letter hidden behind a poster in the music room of his home, the jury heard.

Mr Jeffels said G4S activity from the depot was “stopped dead” that day.

Nicci Horton, defending, asked him what he thought of Garland, and the boss replied: “I thought he was a nice lad. I actually thought he had a bright future with G4S.”

Security manager Christopher Wilcox said Garland worked in the “coin cage”.

He said he had shouted at the teenager when £13,000 went missing – although there was no suggestion the money had been stolen, and it was later accounted for.

Although he had told him off in front of others, when the money was later accounted for, Mr Wilcox did not apologise, the jury heard.

Miss Horton asked: “Did you feel you handled it particularly well?”

Mr Wilcox replied: “Probably not.”

Mr Garland's letter named two colleagues as being involved in an earlier armed robbery on a cash in transit van, the court heard.

Mr Rooney read the letter to the jury, detailing how it said: “They were our eyes in the sky, they were the ones that helped us along the way.”

It continued: “Sadly, their help came at a cost, some of the money acquired was in their benefit.

“Tell [one of the employees] 'thank you, we are sorry that we have to turn you in'.”

The demand said: “Down to [the two colleagues] taking a large chunk from the takings, we would like more money.

“We have had a long hard think about how we would like this loading.”

Mr Garland, who had taken care not to leave fingerprints on the letter, detailed how the Volvo lorry would be parked outside the depot the following day..

His letter to branch manager Mr Jeffels said how bombs had been hidden on G4S and employees' vehicles.

“The bombs are all activated from a click of a button from our end, so I really hope you cooperate.”

It also said: “Our team will be heavily armed and are not scared to eliminate anyone or anything in our way.

“If our truck is not loaded by 12.15 we will be forcing entry to get what we want.

“Don't think we are lying, [an employee] has already told us the best way to get to the vaults, through the coin cage and through the drum and boom we are in action baby.

“Also, if our truck is not loaded and we have to force entry ,or the police are there, we will have no option but to activate the bombs that are attached to the vehicles!!

“So I highly recommend that you cooperate and save the lives of your employees.

“Lives mean more than money Dean, so do the right thing as a branch manager and give us the money and we will leave quietly without a fuss.”

The letter detailed vehicle registration numbers of colleagues' cars.

He claimed to have played “Russian roulette” with G4S vans, saying some had bombs and some did not.

The author claimed to have been told by the alleged insiders about another colleague whose partner had just had a baby.

“Now he is back at work leaving his partner and baby alone during his working hours.

“If we do not get our money we will be paying them a visit when they are alone.”

Mr Rooney asked the branch manager: “Have you ever received a threat so sinister as that in your position before?”

Mr Jeffels replied: “No, never."

Garland, denies two charges of blackmail, and the case continues.