Gambling robber jailed - Luton


A punter, who had lost about £500 playing a fixed odds gaming machine, returned to the branch of William Hill with his face disguised and demanded money.

Ricky Tan, pulled something from his waistband, which cashiers believed to be a real gun, and made further demands for money, but fled empty handed when he realised the alarm had been raised.

Tan, aged 34 was arrested in a nearby park, but claimed he was just innocently walking his dog. His weapon, which turned out to be a hand drill in a black bag, was recovered nearby.

Tan, of Simpson Close, Luton pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm, and he was jailed for five years and three months at Luton Crown Court on Friday, 08 August 2014.

Kevin Wells, prosecuting said Tan was out of prison on licence at the time. He said he regularly used the William Hill branch in Dunstable Road, Luton, mostly playing the fixed odds machines. He had been at the branch on 13 March this year, and told a cashier he had lost £500. He left, but returned a little while later. The cashier, who saw what she believed was a gu,n feared for her life, said Mr. Wells.

Kate Smith, defending, said Tan had addictions to drugs, alcohol and gambling. Of all his addictions the worse is his gambling. He felt he had reached a point where his life was completely out of control. He was in debt to drug dealers and had lost a lot of money. He is bitterly ashamed and deeply regrets his behaviour."

Judge Philip Bartle QC told Tan: "The irony is that you tried to rob a betting shop in which you were well known. The cashiers would have been terrified. They assumed it was a gun, as most rational people would, and had no way of knowing if it was an imitation."

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