Suspect named in betting shop raids

Martin Reilly
Martin Reilly
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POLICE are hunting for a 53-year-old man in connection with at least 11 armed robberies - including two in Eastbourne.

Detectives are keen to talk to Martin Joseph Reilly, who has targeted bookmakers in Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and most recently London, stealing just over £20,000.

Martin Reilly

Martin Reilly

He is suspected of carrying out two robberies in Eastbourne within 12 hours of each other.

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• To view CCTV moving images of Reilly walking into Ladbrokes, Gildredge Road, Eastbourne, and pulling his balaclava down click on this link

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At 8.50pm on Sunday, July 17, a man, wearing a false moustache and rain jacket with the hood up covering his face, entered Betfred in Cornfield Road and threatened a member of staff with a handgun. The woman ran into the back room, locked the door and the suspect left empty handed.

At 8.40am the following day (July 18) a man, matching the description of the person committing the previous night’s robbery, walked into Ladbrokes on Gildredge Road, and rather belatedly pulled a balaclava over his face as he threatened a member of staff with a handgun before walking off with a sum of money.

Detective Inspector Ian Still, from Brighton CID, who is leading the South East investigation, said, “We hope publicising Martin’s name and photograph for the first time may prompt members of the public who know him or recognise him to come forward.

“What is distinctive is that he uses fancy dress disguises – wigs, hats, false beards, moustaches and sideburns to alter his appearance and to hide scarring on his cheeks, particularly horseshoe like scarring on his left cheek.

“We are linking the 11 robberies and attempted robberies from each of the counties due to the use of disguises and his modus operandi - almost always striking just as the shops open up and arming himself with a knife or gun to threaten staff. It is not known if the gun is imitation or real.

“We believe Reilly is using the rail network or other public transport to reach stores just as they are opening up.

“Fortunately Reilly has not harmed staff or members of the public in any of the robberies but we still advise people to not approach him but to contact police immediately should they see him.”

The Association of British Bookmakers has offered a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to Reilly’s arrest and conviction.

Neil Harris, divisional security and safety manager for Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming, said, “We areworking closely with Sussex Police and other police forces in an attempt to find Martin Reilly.

“We hope providing Sussex Police with various CCTV images and putting up a reward that someone will recognise Reilly before he strikes again.

“This has been a very frightening experience for our staff but fortunately no one has been injured.”

Detective Inspector Still added, “The investigation into Reilly has been going on for some time and we have been working alongside our colleagues in the other forces, sharing important information, intelligence and leads in the hope of finding him. It has now been considered to expand the search for him nationally.”

Reilly is described as white, 6” 1” of medium build, with blue eyes, a shaven bald head and scars on each cheek.

He has at various times lived in both Corby and Kettering and has connections to London, having previously lived in the Croydon area and is known to frequent Killburn.

He is also known to use different names such as Martin McAuley, Martin Anderson and Martin O’Reilly.

If anyone has any information concerning Reilly they can contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 quoting Op Shelley or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on their webiste at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

• To view CCTV moving images of Reilly walking into Ladbrokes, Gildredge Road, Eastbourne, and pulling his balaclava down click on this link