Police: Odds stacked against crooks ahead of Grand National

St Helens Star: Auroras Encore wins the Grand National in 2013 Auroras Encore wins the Grand National in 2013

ROBBERS targeting bookmakers during the week of the Aintree Festival are being warned by police that the odds are stacked against them.

Officers have been working with betting firms across the county to ensure offenders fall at the first hurdle.

Dozens of betting shops are being visited by neighbourhood police officers to offer crime prevention advice and go through security measures.

The aim is to make sure betting staff are on the alert for suspicious behaviour.

Chief Inspector Jenny Sims, the force's retail crime lead, said potential robbers were more likely to end up facing a judge than successfully stealing cash bet on the likes of 'God's Me Judge' and 'Court By Surprise'.

She said: "The police and the betting industry work very closely together to ensure bookmakers have all the latest CCTV in and outside the premises, fogging devices to disorientate an offender once inside, and dye capsules that can explode over cash, ruining it and staining the offender's skin and clothes.

"Bookmakers also have enhanced cash protection systems that keep the amount of readily available cash to an absolute minimum.

"An armed robber could be risking five or six years in prison going after what in reality turns out to be only a few hundred pounds. My question to that person is: don't bother."

Last week, armed robber Adam Russell, was jailed for five years for three armed robberies against William Hill and Ladbrookes bookmakers in Waterloo and Formby last November.

High quality CCTV and forensic evidence from the scenes led to his swift arrest and charge.

CI Sims added: "Russell had very little previous yet for some reason decided to arm himself with a knife and go into a bookmakers where staff and customers were going about their normal daily business.

"He threatened and intimidated them and the courts took a very dim view of the distress he caused decent, law-abiding members of his own community, and jailed him for many years.

"Betting shop staff are increasingly vigilant to suspicious behaviour in their shops and police officers will be giving business premises extra attention during Aintree as Merseyside experiences a surge in betting.

"It is in everyone's interests - the bookies, their customers, the police, other neighbouring businesses - to all work together to combat this threat from criminals who seek to line their pockets with other people's hard-earned money."


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