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Gunman targets Betfred bookmakers
Updated 5:29pm Friday 4th April 2014 in News
A ROBBER armed with a handgun held up a St Helens betting shop last night after the first day of the Aintree Grand National Festival.
The lone offender walked into the Betfred bookmakers in Nutgrove Road in Thatto Heath after 8.30pm last night (Thursday, April 3).
He pulled a black handgun from a rucksack and demanded that the two members of staff - the 25-year-old female manager and her 22-year-old male colleague - open the safe.
When the offender discovered they did not have access to the cash in the safe he ordered them to hand over cash from the till instead.
He then left on foot in the direction of Scholes Lane and staff activated a panic alarm which called the police.
The two members of staff, and a customer who was in the shop at the time, were left uninjured but distressed.
Detective Inspector Martin Earl, of St Helens CID, said: "This was an extremely unpleasant ordeal for these two members of staff and the customer to go through when they were just going about their business.
"The offender did not threaten violence but he produced what staff believed was a black handgun and that was clearly very frightening.
"I would like to reassure people that we are doing everything we can to catch this man and that extensive enquiries are being made to establish who he is and where he lives so that he can be arrested.
"This robbery happened early evening after the first day of Aintree when many people may have been in the area having had a drink at a local pub, or on their way to the bookmakers to place a bet.
"I am sure that someone will have seen this man either before he carried out the robbery or afterward when he fled the scene.
"I would urge anyone who can help us investigate this crime against a local business where local staff have been put through a terrible ordeal to please contact the police or Crimestoppers."
The offender is described as white, aged in his late 30s, around 5ft 9ins tall with a black hood and black neck-warmer covering his head and face.
He spoke with a St Helens accent and was wearing a dark blue waterproof jackets and blue jeans.
Call St Helens CID on 0151 777 6812 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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