A man who robbed a betting shop in Hertford was jailed for nine years today, Thurs Jan 28th.

He struck at the Coral betting shop in Fleming Crescent in the town on the afternoon of November 18 last year.

But Andrew Kerry, for Lawtons, who represented the man when he appeared at St Albans Crown Court, told how he had been threatened to rob the shop by others.

The court was told the 43 year old, wearing a ski mask to hide his face, had gone into the shop with an imitation firearm.

He had told the manager behind the counter “Empty the till – all of it.”

And, to other customers in the shop, he had screamed “Any of you move and I will cap you!”

During the terrifying hold up, the man from Hertford gave instructions for the safe to be emptied of any cash, with the money placed in a plastic bag which had contained the weapon.

As a result, the court heard, he was given between £500 and £600 which was stuffed in the bag.

Colin Banham, prosecuting, said that as the drama was unfolding inside the betting shop, customers present thought the weapon he was brandishing was a real pistol.

Before making off, he warned people present “Don’t look at me, don’t follow me or I will cap you.”

But, despite the attempt to hide his face, the court was told the manager recognised the robber as someone who had been in the shop earlier that same afternoon.

CCTV footage was recovered which clearly showed him and, when it was passed to the police, he was soon identified.

As a result, he appeared at court today via a video link from Bedford Prison, where he has been held in custody, to plead guilty to robbery and possessing an imitation firearm at the time of committing the robbery.

Mr Banham said it didn’t take officers long to find the culprit

Five days later he was being held at Stevenage Police Station on another matter when it was realised he was wanted for the robbery, and further arrested.

He told detectives the robber hadn’t been him and he came up with a story that someone else had put on his clothes to carry it out.

Before sentence was passed today, his barrister Andrew Kerry told the court he had been threatened by a gang to commit the robbery.

Judge John Plumstead jailed him for a total of nine years.