A GAMBLER who risked all by robbing a bookmakers in Northampton in order to pay off loan sharks has been jailed for two years.
Wendell Cuffy, 49, was “bound to be caught” for the robbery of the Corals bookmakers in Lorne Road, The Mounts, because he was a regular customer and the staff even knew him by name, Northampton Crown Court heard.
William Falshaw, prosecuting, said a cashier arrived to open up at 9am on March 7. He said: “The defendant came into the shop and she recognised him as a regular customer. He approached the counter and asked if he could go to the toilet, saying he’d left his mobile phone in there.
“She unlocked the toilet door and decided to help the defendant so opened the office door as well, at which point he pushed her back and closed the door behind him. She tried to get past the defendant but he prevented her from doing this by grabbing her by the shoulder.
“She asked him what he was doing and he told her; ‘I’m robbing you. Give me what I want or I’ll hurt you, give me £3,000 or I’ll have a bullet in my head. It’s not your money; it’s Corals’. He let go of her and she tried to call the police but the defendant grabbed hold of the phone.”
The court heard Cuffy ran from the shop with the till, containing £286, but details of his silver Peugeot getaway car were passed to police.
Mr Falshaw said the car was spotted 15 minutes later in Wellingborough Road and stopped by officers who discovered proceeds from the hold-up.
Cuffy, of Becket’s View, Northampton, who had a previous robbery conviction from 1983, pleaded guilty to robbery as well as driving while disqualified and without insurance. He was jailed for two years and was disqualified for a year.
Richard Holloway, mitigating, said Cuffy had run up £5,000 debts with “unscrupulous people” and was “undeniably desperate”.
He added: “He has done something incredibly stupid and he will now regret it at his leisure.”