Bookies’ shop staff terrorised by axe man

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POLICE have arrested a man after betting shop staff were terrorised by an axe-wielding robber.

The 23-year-old was being held on suspicion of carrying out the armed robbery at the Betfred bookmakers in Longbenton.

A man had walked into the West Farm Avenue shop at around 9pm on Thursday, November 8, armed with an axe.

The man threw the axe in the direction of the two members of staff in the shop at the time, who were forced to flee to the safety of a back room.

Although shaken by what had happened, they were not injured, and the robber subsequently left the building with a small quantity of cash.

Betfred spokesman Mark Pearson said: “We take the security of our staff extremely seriously and will be working with the police on this matter.”

North Tyneside Chief Inspector Mandy Shea said: “People are mistaken in thinking there are large quantities of cash lying around in bookmakers’ shops, this is not the case.

“Bookmakers employ cash minimisation practices which mean there is very little cash in the store at any one time.

“This means that criminals who consider stealing from these premises and committing such a serious offence are risking long prison sentences for very little gain.

“Northumbria Police is working closely with betting shops across the region, making stores even more secure and ensuring that practices are put in place that make it easier to catch offenders.”

Potential witnesses can call police on 101 ext 69191.