Betting shop robber 'apologised' to victim after showing six inch knife

An armed robber who robbed a betting shop at knifepoint tried to shake the hand of one of his terrified victims and say sorry.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 10:40 am
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 11:55 am
Andrew Siddall

Andrew Peter Siddall, 47, who is beginning a six year jail term, told two Betfred employees: " I know I'm going to get a life sentence for this. The only reason I'm doing this is because of drugs."

Police were called to the Betfred store on Westcliffe Drive, Layton, Blackpool, on December 11 last year after Siddall used a chair to jump over the counter and approach the two women with a six inch kitchen knife.

Prosecuting, Jonathan Dickinson said: " It was about 9.15pm when the defendant went over the counter. The defendant is said to have said: ' I don't want to hurt you - give me the money and the float.'

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"Then he demanded to see inside the safe.

"He was told in relation to the safe it would take 15 minutes for them to get through to the inner safe. The defendant said: 'Lets try the machines' and they then went to the slot machines.

"At one point the defendant tried to shake her hand and said 'sorry' but she pulled her hand away."

Siddall stole money from the tills and fruit machines.

Officers launched a manhunt, circulating his image to the public, and he was arrested the next day.

The court heard in a police interview, the defendant said he had woken up on the day of the offence in a 'bit of a state' and had taken alcohol and cannabis.

He said his family had said he would be better off in prison and that he had committed robbery so he could go back to prison because he has structure in his life.

Appearing at Preston Crown Court, Siddall pleaded guilty to robbing the Betfred store of £220, and to possessing an offensive weapon, namely a kitchen knife.

Defending, Peter Horgan described it as an unusual robbery, and said after Siddall achieved his purpose and frightened the women by showing the blade, he put it back in his pocket and did not threaten them with it again.

Siddall has a history of similar offences.

In 2015 he hit the headlines when he was jailed for 56 months after threatened a woman at knife-point during a terrifying raid at the Ladbrokes bookmakers on Church Street, Blackpool.At the time the court was told he hailed from the Coventry area but had been placed on a drug treatment programme in the resort.

Recorder Mark Ainsworth, who also imposed an extended three year licence period, said: "The two people behind the counter demonstrated great fortitude, but I have no doubt this would have been a terrifying incident for them. There they were, simply getting on with their job.

"They had no idea whether you were going to use that knife or not."