Brighouse man jailed for armed raid of bookmakers

Jailed: Brendan Kelly
Jailed: Brendan Kelly

A “desperate” man who robbed a Brighouse bookmakers in an attempt to pay off a debt he owed to a drug dealer has been jailed for more than three years.

Brendan Kelly, 41, of Huddersfield Road, Brighouse, had stolen £3,000 of firearms from a gun shop in Brighouse two weeks earlier.

During the burglary between August 26 and 27, Kelly smashed the windows of the Aaron Wheeler Gunsmith Limited, Bethel Street, Brighouse using a hammer and stole a Chinese PPS-43 7.62 calibre machine gun, a Webley B Scott Mark air rifle and two pairs of binoculars.

Bradford Crown Court heard that a fortnight later, on September 13, Kelly entered William Hill bookmakers on Commerical Street two times and spoke to the cashier.

Kelly, a father-of-two, returned to the store around fifteen minutes later when it was empty and approached staff member Mr Stephens and pointed out what looked like a sawn-off shotgun.

He then handed over a carrier bag and demanded money.

Mr Stephens, who had talked to Kelly less than an hour before about Huddersfield Town Football Club, questioned whether he was serious.

Kelly is said to have replied “I am not joking, I am desperate”.

Mr Stephens handed over £150 in five and ten pound notes, which James Bourne, defending, said showed his plan was “unsophisticated”.

Mr Bourne added: “This is not a man who was thinking very clearly and was acting out of desperation.”

The court was shown CCTV footage of the robbery and the imitation weapon - a metal pipe - which was placed through the serving counter.

Kelly, who owed money for drugs, handed over the weapons from the gun shop to drug dealers, along with the £150 taken from the bookmakers.

Michael Smith, prosecuting, said: “Kelly was desperate and owed a lot of money to a drug dealer. He was wondering how to raise money and on the day in question, the drug dealer threatened to visit his house and break his legs.

“Kelly went into the town centre and formed a plan to rob the bookmakers.”

Judge Peter Benson, who sentenced Kelly to 44 months in prison, said: “The machine gun you took from Aaron Wheeler Gunsmith Limited is of fearsome appearance and looks like an AK47.

“Weeks later, you spent some time in the William Hill bookmakers and then went away and came back with a weapon that had the appearance of a sawn-off shotgun and pointed it at the cashier.

“He said at first he didn’t take you seriously but when he looked into your eyes he realised you were deadly serious and he was petrified.”