Cashier’s bet on recognising masked robber in Bedford shop

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Brave betting shop cashier Siana Spencer didn’t mince her words when confronted by a masked robber brandishing a AK47-type weapon.

When his mask slipped down, she recognised him as family friend Earl Patterson.

And she promptly told him: “Get the f... out the shop Earl”, a jury heard this week.

Patterson obeyed her, shouting as he left: “It’s not real, it’s a fake.”

Luton Crown Court saw CCTV footage of the moment he approached the counter of Corals betting shop at Kempston, holding the firearm.

Because the weapon has never been recovered it is not known whether it was real or fake.

After the Corals fiasco, 37-year-old Patterson tried again, this time choosing the One Stop convenience store in nearby Wootton, the court heard.

He struck at around 10pm when shop worker Balwinder Kaur was preparing to lock up for the night.

He brandished the weapon in her face and, when she tried to run to the back of the shop, chased her and demanded money.

“She was forced to open the till and gave the defendant three to four hundred pounds,” said David Stanton, prosecuting.

Patterson, of Ashpole Avenue, Bedford, pleaded not guilty to attempting to rob Miss Spencer at Corals, robbery at the One Stop shop, and two charges of possessing a firearm or imitation firearm in September last year.

The court heard Bedfordshire police were swift to arrest him thanks to Miss Spencer’s description.

Giving evidence behind a screen, the cashier told the jury how she was “petrified” when the masked man approached, demanding: “Give me the money”.

She said he was wearing a piece of material over his face but as he got close to the counter it slipped down, allowing her recognise his features.

The jury heard she had known Patterson for between 10 and 15 years as a friend of her brother and someone who had even been to her mother’s home.

“He knows us all,” she said.

The case continues.