’Fancy dress robber’ is sentenced to life in jail

Martin Reilly pictured in his disguise during raid on Ladbrokes in Portsmouth
Martin Reilly pictured in his disguise during raid on Ladbrokes in Portsmouth

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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.

Martin Reilly

Martin Reilly

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.