Blundering Biggleswade gambler caught on camera after trying to rob Stotfold bookies where he played slot machines minutes earlier

PUBLISHED: 11:50 27 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:42 27 February 2017

The robbery took place at the Ladbrokes outlet in Stotfold.

The robbery took place at the Ladbrokes outlet in Stotfold.

Danny Loo Photography 2017

A Biggleswade gambler who robbed a bookies minutes after playing the slot machines there was caught on camera because he forgot to change his clothes.

Michael Stafford, 29, of Heather Drive Biggleswade, played the slot machines at Ladbrokes in Stotfold for some 45 minutes on November 20 last year.

He was captured losing money on the machines on the store’s CCTV cameras, so when he left the book makers and returned a few minutes later demanding staff hand over cash, it was an easy job for police to identify him.

Stafford went back into the bookies with his hood up and a scarf across his face. He told the member of staff – who was working alone at the counter – that ‘he had something in his pocket’ and demanded money.

He was handed £150 and made off with it but police soon caught up with him after studying the CCTV footage.

Daryl Cherrett, defending said: “He had lost his money and carried out a crude robbery. He even left before the second till was opened.

“He was wearing exactly the same clothing as he was wearing when seen on CCTV playing the slot machines.”

He said Stafford was now attending a drug rehabilitation programme which was “going very well”, and he was extremely remorseful.

At Luton Crown Court on Friday, Stafford pleaded guilty to robbery and was given a 20 month prison sentence suspended for two years.

Judge Philip Bartle QC said that he was going to give Stafford a chance because the offence was out of character, and he had voluntarily sought help for his drug problem since.

Judge Bartle said: “Although robbery is a very serious offence, in the unusual circumstances of this offence I am going to suspend the sentence.

“This has been a wake up call for you and sending you to prison would achieve nothing. But the conditions I have imposed will be positively helpful to you.”

Stafford was also ordered to comply with various conditions, pay back the money stolen and pay £160 compensation to the cashier.

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