Police Hunt 'Fancy Dress' Robber

Police trying to find an armed robber who has targeted bookmakers wearing fancy dress disguises have released a series of pictures of him.

They're hoping it will help them trace Martin Joseph Reilly, 53, who is believed to have targeted eleven bookmakers in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, Essex and most recently London, stealing just over £20,000.

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

"What is distinctive about him 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 eleven 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 to date, Reilly has not harmed staff or members of the public during any of the robberies but we would 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 that will lead to Reilly's arrest and conviction.

Neil Harris, Divisional Security and Safety Manager for Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming said: "We have been working closely with Sussex Police and other police forces in an attempt to find Martin Reilly. We are hoping that by providing Sussex Police with various CCTV images from our stores 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."

Reilly is described as white, 6 feet 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, haviing 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.

He is suspected of being involved in the following crimes:

Coral bookmakers in Lower Street, Kettering, Northamptonshire at around 8.30am on Monday 13 June. A man threatened a member of staff with a handgun before making off with a sum of cash. The suspect was dressed as a workman in high visibility clothing, gloves, a dust mask and safety goggles.

Corals Racing in Tavistock Street, Bedford, at 8.50am on Friday 17 June. Cash was stolen by a man, with a scruffy appearance and wearing a floppy brimmed fisherman style hat and had several sticky plasters on his face. He threatened a member of staff with a knife before making off with cash from the till.

William Hill bookmakers in George Street, Hove, was robbed on 7 July at around 8.25am by a man wearing a fake beard and large glasses and carrying a gun. He made off with only a set of keys.

Ladbrokes betting shop in Dyke Road, Brighton, on 11 July A man, wearing a wig, fake side burns and dark sunglasses, robbed, and made off with a sum of cash.

Two robberies in Eastbourne happened within 12 hours of each other:
At 8.50pm on Sunday 17 July a man, wearing a false moustache and a 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 (18 July) 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.

On 3 August, at around 8am, at Ladbrokes in Chertsey Road, Woking , a man, wearing a wide-brimmed fisherman~s hat, a workman's fluorescent orange jacket, face mask and safety glasses, threatened a member of staff with a handgun and fled with an amount of cash.

In Portsmouth , on 30 August, a man wearing a black wig, entered Ladbrokes in Arundel Street at around 8.35am and threatened staff with a knife before leaving with cash.

At 8.30am on 20 September, Coral's betting shop in London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex , was targeted by a man of similar height and build to Reilly, wearing a dark wig, trimmed grey beard and a fluorescent workmen's tabard, a white protective face mask and yellow safety goggles. He entered the store, threatened the member of staff at gunpoint and made off on foot with cash from the till.

At 8.35am on 28 September, Ladbrokes betting shop, Tavistock Road, Bedford, Bedfordshire was targeted by a man with a white hockey mask, who entered the store with a handgun and demanded money from the staff before fleeing on foot with some cash.

Ladbrokes, Baker Street, London was robbed at around 8.10am on Monday 10 October. The suspect was described as white, middle-age of stocky build and was wearing a purple T-shirt, high-visibility jacket and trousers and a white hockey style mask, He threatened staff, claiming he had a gun and stole an amount of cash from the till.

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