Man hands himself in after armed raid

This Is Wiltshire: A police officer stands guard outside Ladbrokes in Regent Street. Picture: ALEX SKENNERTON Buy this photo A police officer stands guard outside Ladbrokes in Regent Street. Picture: ALEX SKENNERTON

A FEMALE cashier at a Swindon betting shop was faced with a gun and demands for cash in an armed robbery.

A 25-year-old man from Swindon handed himself in at a police station in Bath later, and was arrested on suspicion of armed robbery.

A man marched into Ladbrokes in Regent Street at 9.40am yesterday and brandished what has now been identified as a replica firearm.

He demanded money from the till and after taking £400 in notes, made off on foot.

It is believed the culprit ran in the direction of Swindon railway station after dumping a rucksack containing the gun in Bridge Street.

The money stolen has not yet been accounted for, though investigations are still at an early stage.

A widespread witness appeal, containing clear CCTV images of the suspect, swept across social media, including several articles from the Adver, which led to a man handing himself in around 1pm.

The man was due to be transferred to Gablecross police station last night for questioning.

Wiltshire Police central inspector Paul Saunders said: “What we really want to reiterate is the fantastic response from the public and the support from the media in getting the images out so quickly.

“The co-operation of the public has really made a big difference. As a result of that image, we were able to act on information given to us, which has led to this man handing himself in.”

Searches of the area, including use of the police helicopter, were carried out across the town centre in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

“Through information on the man’s last-known direction of travel, we work our way out from that location to try and catch him,” said Insp Saunders.

“Until we question the man we cannot be sure of his movements, but it seems obvious he had gone straight to the train station, seeing as he turned up in Bath.”

No-one was hurt in the incident, though the female cashier was very shaken up, according to police.

Nobody at the shop was available for comment yesterday but Ladbrokes did release an official statement which read: “For obvious reasons we don’t put staff in the media as they are witnesses to a crime and that would carry associated risks.

“After any incident of this kind we offer shop colleagues full counselling and support and we are thankful no-one was hurt in this incident.”

The company added that betting shops carry very low levels of cash so the risk run by criminals is very high for low potential reward.

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