A SERIAL ‘fancy dress’ armed robber who struck at a Portsmouth betting shop has been jailed for life.
Martin Reilly, 53, used wigs, hats, false beards, a fright mask and even dressed up as Elvis to steal £23,000 from betting shops across Britain.
Now he faces a minimum of 12 years behind bars after admitting seven armed robberies, one attempted armed robbery and seven counts of possession of a firearm.
Reilly carried out the raids between June and October when he was on licence after being released from a previous life sentence in 2005 for similar armed robberies.
He sparked a nationwide manhunt after robbing bookmakers including Ladbrokes in Arundel Street, Landport, on August 30. Reilly also targeted betting shops in Brighton, Hove, Eastbourne, Woking, Surrey, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, Bedford and west London.
He would enter the betting shops, usually after a single staff member had opened up, and demand cash from the tills and the safe while brandishing an imitation firearm, or occasionally a knife.
He locked his victims in toilets, kitchens and store cupboards before fleeing with cash.
When Reilly was eventually arrested in Hereford in October he told police: ‘I never hurt anyone. There’s no need for all this, I’ve never used a real gun or hurt anybody’.
Reilly was sentenced to life with a minimum of 12 years by Judge Paul Tain at Brighton Crown Court.