Knife robber who terrorised woman during bookies raid jailed
PUBLISHED: 15:52 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:52 21 May 2019
A robber who raided a betting shop and terrorised a woman while he waited for a time locked safe to open has been jailed.
Kent Police said the knife-point robber made repeated threats to her while they were locked in a betting shop.
Now he has been locked up for six years.
John Saunders targeted the Gravesend business in March this year and continued to threaten the employee with the weapon while they waited for a time-delayed safe to open.
The 36-year-old, of Tennyson Avenue, Canterbury, admitted robbery, threatening a person with a bladed article, and a burglary which took place at a nearby community group.
He was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on May 20.
The court was told Saunders ran into the bookkeepers, in King Street, at around 8pm on Monday March 11 and immediately jumped over the counter to threaten a shop worker.
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There were no customers present and he went on to force the member of staff to open a safe after producing a knife.
The safe operated on a 15-minute time delay and, while the offender waited for it to open, he forced the employee to lock the shop and empty four fruit machines.
He also went on to damage several CCTV cameras and monitors before leaving the scene on foot with a large quantity of cash.
In addition to the robbery, Saunders also admitted a burglary at the Masonic Hall in Wrotham Road, Gravesend, on the same date.
He gained entry by forcing open the shutters and stole a small quantity of cash from a raffle box.
In addition to these offences, six commercial burglaries, committed in Canterbury on March 9 this year, were taken into consideration as part of the sentencing.
These offences saw three beauty salons, two pubs and a restaurant targeted.
Det Con Dan Bister of Kent Police said: "Saunders;' complete lack of respect to the wider public is further shown by his admission to numerous commercial burglaries, which caused significant disruption to the businesses affected.
"There can be no tolerance shown towards individuals who choose to threaten people with weapons and it is entirely fitting that he has received this sentence."