Knife-point robbery at Cheltenham Ladbrokes
TERRIFIED staff at a Cheltenham bookmaker have been left shaken after a knife-wielding masked robber burst through the door and stole £800.
Two employees at Ladbrokes in Montpellier were confronted by the man, who came in wearing a scarf over his face and demanded cash from the till and safe.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident and have seized CCTV footage in a bid to identify the culprit.
Staff at the branch at the time were yesterday said to be recovering from the ordeal. One member of staff said: "Obviously it's a very unpleasant incident and would have been a shock to the people involved. I don't know how they are doing.
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"We believe they are okay and certainly hope they catch the man who did this."
At the Montpellier Street bookmakers there is no glass barrier to act as a buffer for staff – known in the trade as a "bandit screen" – unlike other branches in the town.
The member of staff added: "We are trained for any eventuality, but obviously nothing prepares you for having a knife pointed at you for real."
The incident took place between 9.30pm and 9.45pm on Tuesday.
The offender was described as around 6ft tall and of medium build.
In addition to the scarf over his face, he was wearing a baseball cap and a blue hooded jumper with the hood up over the cap and a blue zip-up hooded jacket.
After staff handed over the money he fled towards town.
Thankfully, staff were uninjured in the incident and there were no customers were on the premises at the time.
Police commended the actions of the member of staff who dealt with the robber.
He is understood to have handed over the money without showing signs of panic.
Detective sergeant Dave Shore-Nye said: "The member of staff did exactly the right thing in the circumstances and we commend his bravery.
"The crime is being taking incredibly seriously."
Fellow traders in the area were shocked when they heard about the crime.
Margaret Cavanagh, chairwoman of the Montpellier Association, said: "It's shocking to hear this has happened.
"We all stick together around here and we do hope the staff involved are able to put it behind them. Nobody should have to be afraid to come into work for fear of this sort of thing."
The robbery comes less than a year after another Ladbrokes branch, in Rowanfield Exchange, was targeted by masked raiders.
Anyone with information about Tuesday's incident should contact police on 101 quoting incident 383 of February 12.