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Islington addict jailed for betting shop reign of terror

PUBLISHED: 14:49 28 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 October 2010

A PROLIFIC robber who carried out 14 armed raids on betting shops – twice targeting the same pregnant Islington cashier – has been jailed for eight years.

A PROLIFIC robber who carried out 14 armed raids on betting shops - twice targeting the same pregnant Islington cashier - has been jailed for eight years.

Thomas Bello-Monerville, 25, of Arundel Place, Islington, struck fear into staff at William Hill branches across London in a "campaign of escalating armed robbery".

He donned disguises including masks and a curly wig before pointing a silver revolver at his victims and stating: "Give me all the money or I will shoot."

He twice raided a William Hill shop in Southgate Road, Islington, preying both times on a heavily pregnant cashier, who feared both she and her unborn baby would be shot.

During one heist in Acton, Bello-Monerville used a boy of just 14 as a lookout, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told.

Bello-Monerville's four-and-a-half month reign of terror culminated on February 1 this year when he targeted three bookmakers within just 30 minutes.

A major Flying Squad operation had been launched to catch him and armed officers descended on Green Lanes, Finsbury Park, the scene of the third incident that evening.

Bello-Monerville fled on a route 341 bus but was tracked by detectives and seized in Essex Road, Islington.

Judge Simon Freeland QC said: "This amounts to a campaign of escalating armed robbery, so prolific was your use of an imitation firearm over this four-and-a-half month period.

"These robberies caused enormous fear, trauma and anxiety to the cashiers and managers of the bookmakers whom you robbed."

The 14-year-old, from White City, who carried out a separate armed robbery just four days after aiding Bello-Monerville, was arrested later after officers found mobile phone evidence linking him to the raids. He was sentenced to 20 months' detention in a young offenders' institution.

Bello-Monerville's phone records revealed that he had made inquiries at a travel agents into flights to Egypt before he was arrested. He had earned a total of £2,115 from the raids.

Bello-Monerville earlier admitted a total of eight robberies and six attempted robberies with a further five raids left to lie on his court file. He was jailed for eight years. When he was arrested, Bello-Monerville claimed he carried out the robberies to fund his skunk cannabis addiction, the court heard.

He told officers: "I got no work. I live on the street, I need cash.


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