Bookies robber armed with syringe jailed for eight years
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A betting shop robber who threatened his victims with a syringe has been jailed for eight years.
Gareth Ball, of no fixed abode, entered two Southampton bookies and an amusement arcade in April this year whilst clutching the needle and demanding cash.
The 39-year-old first targeted Betfred on Pound Tree Road at around 9pm on 20 April. During this incident he snatched around £16 in coins before leaving the store.
The following morning, he entered Golden Slots on Above Bar Street and demanded money from the till, but left empty-handed.
About an hour later, he walked into Paddy Power on Pound Tree Road, again making threats with the bloodied needle. He stole cash to the value of £98.66.
Police were called and officers arrested Ball within 40 minutes.
He admitted two counts of robbery, one of attempted robbery, and three counts of possession of an offensive weapon at a Southampton Crown Court hearing on 19 July.
Ball was subsequently jailed for eight years at the same court yesterday (Thursday 15 August).
Following the sentencing, Detective Constable Sean Owens said: “Ball made a series of terrifying threats which left betting shop staff very shaken by the ordeals.
“After receiving the call on the morning of 21 April, officers acted very quickly and were able to locate and arrest Ball within 40 minutes of the call coming in. He was found with his pockets full of change and needles.
“We hope this reassures our local businesses of how seriously we take these types of incidents, and we continue to encourage victims of business crime to report incidents to the police.”