South Shields bookies raider who stole thousands nailed by Poundland receipt he dropped at the
An armed bookies raider who stole thousands of pounds was snared by a Poundland receipt he dropped at the scene of the crime.
Michael Wright was masked and armed with a machete when he and an accomplice burst into Make That Bet bookmakers, in South Shields, to demand cash.
After stealing £3,450 in cash, the manager who had been cashing up was warned: “Tell anyone and I will kill you”.
But police were informed and were handed a receipt that had been dropped on the floor of the shop.
Officers checked CCTV of Poundland and saw it was Wright.
Prosecutor Michael Hodson told Newcastle Crown Court the raid happened just as the shop, in Whiteleas Way, South Shields, was due to close on August 8 last year.
Mr Hodson said Wright had his “face covered to his nose” and helped himself to cash after telling the worker “everything, now”.
The court heard it was after the raiders left that the victim noticed something had been left behind.
Mr Hodson said: “He noticed a receipt on the floor.
“This was given to the police and led to the arrest of Mr Wright.
“They did that by seeing what the receipt was for, going to the shop and looking at CCTV, identifying him.”
The court heard a quick-thinking passer by took a picture of the raiders as they made their getaway.
When police tracked down Wright, he was behind the wheel of the same car, a silver Renault Megane, which he drove dangerously, at high speed and on pedestrian areas, then caused a crash with another vehicle before he was arrested.
When officers raided his home they found two machetes and £1,540 in cash.
The betting shop worker said he was “very scared” when the machete was pointed at him and believed the raider would use it if he did not do what he was ordered.
Wright, 34, of Honeysuckle Avenue, South Shields, who has 56 previous convictions, admitted robbery, having an offensive weapon, dangerous driving, having no licence and having no insurance.
Recorder Jonathan Sandiford QC sentenced Wright to five years and four months behind bars. He was also banned from driving for three years and four months and must pass an extended test before he can go back on the roads.
The judge told him: “You were tracked by a good bit of police work because you had dropped a receipt during the course of the robbery and police traced the transaction and CCTV from which you were identified.”
The judge awarded the witness who took the picture of the car £100 from public funds.
Glenn Gatland, defending, said Wright and his partner had lost expensive possessions in a house fire shortly before the robbery, which he carried out to get cash.
Mr Gatland said Wright had “panicked” when he saw the police and drove dangerously because he was “worried about being caught for the robbery”.
Mr Gatland said due to the coronavirus restrictions Wright’s contact with loved ones has been only through telephone calls during the months he has spent on remand.