‘Fancy dress’ Ladbrokes robber hunted for 10 similar crimes

DISGUISE Raider in Portsmouth
DISGUISE Raider in Portsmouth
Scot Mackenzie

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POLICE believe at least 11 betting shops could have fallen victim to a ‘fancy dress’ armed robber who struck at a Ladbrokes in Portsmouth.

Martin Joseph Reilly, 53, is wanted in connection with the theft of more than £20,000 from bookmakers in Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and London.

On 30 August he is suspected of entering Ladbrokes in Arundel Street, Landport, wearing a black wig and glasses at around 8.35am.

He threatened staff with a knife and locked them in a back room before leaving with cash.

Detective Inspector Ian Still from Brighton CID, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘What is distinctive about him is that he uses fancy dress disguises – wigs, hats, false beards, moustaches and sideburns to alter his appearance and to hide scarring on his cheeks, particularly horseshoe-like scarring on his left hand cheek. We are linking the 11 robberies and attempted robberies from each of the counties due to the use of disguises and his modus operandi, almost always striking just as the shops open up and arming himself with a knife or gun to threaten staff. It is not known if the gun is imitation or real.’

The Association of British Bookmakers has offered a reward of up to £10,000 for information that will lead to Mr Reilly’s arrest and conviction.

He is white, 6ft 1in, of medium build, with blue eyes, a shaven bald head and scars on each cheek.

If anyone has any information concerning Mr Reilly they can contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 quoting Operation Shelley or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.