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Fancy dress robber given life sentence for raids on bookies

By Bedfordshire On Sunday  |  Posted: April 09, 2012

By JULIA SUTTON

Three of the many faces of serial armed robber Martin Reilly

Three of the many faces of serial armed robber Martin Reilly

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A serial armed robber who raided a bookies while wearing a hockey mask was hit with a life sentence at court on Monday.

Martin Reilly, 53, robbed Ladbrokes Bookmakers in Tavistock Street, Bedford, in September last year using a gun and wearing a disguise. He walked out the shop with £630.

In total Reilly, who made a feature of robbing bookies in fancy dress, stole £23,000 sparking a nationwide manhunt that covered seven police force areas.

He was convicted in February having pleaded guilty to nine robberies two attempted robberies, eight offences of possessing a firearm while committing an indictable offence, and two of possessing an offensive weapon.

He pleaded not guilty to two robberies including one at Corals in Tavistock Street, Bedford and one of the attempted robberies.

These are to lie on file. At Brighton Crown Court the crook was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison.

Prosecutor Amanda Kelly said many of Reilly’s victims were still suffering from anxiety.

She added: "Although none of the victims of these robberies suffered any physical injury, all of them suffered mental anguish and some of them are still suffering the psychological effects today.

"Several of them report ongoing anxiety and sleep difficulties as a result of these offences and virtually all of them say that their daily working lives have been gravely affected by what they experienced."

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