Don't let Andrew die in vain: Join our Safe Bet campaign in wake of Ladbrokes murder

This Is Local London: Andrew Iaocovu from Cheam was murdered while working alone in Ladbrokes in Morden Andrew Iaocovu from Cheam was murdered while working alone in Ladbrokes in Morden

Today, we launch our Safe Bet campaign - aimed at encouraging the betting shop industry to improve conditions for its workers and ensure the death of worker Andrew Iacovou is not in vain.

A jury took just 49 minutes to convict Shafique Ahmad Aarij of the brutal murder of  Andrew Iacovou, from Cheam, at the Morden betting shop he managed.

The homeless 21-year-old knew father-of-three Mr Iacovou would be working alone when he went to Ladbrokes in Aberconway Road armed with a hammer and a knife with the intention of robbing the bookmaker shortly before 8.30am on Saturday, May 25.

This Is Local London: Police want to speak to anyone who knows who this man is

Shafique Aarij left the betting shop covered in blood

Regular gambler Aarij was already under observation at a Tooting bookmaker because of unusual bets and used a routine he practised the previous day to get Mr Iacovou, of Church Hill Road, Cheam.

He opened the door to the secure area behind the counter before bursting in and hitting him over the head up to 10 times with the hammer.

Aarij planned his robbery knowing that Mr Iacovou would be alone and if he told him there was a problem at the front of the shop he would have to come out from the cash office.

It is a routine used in robberies all over the country.

To prevent further tragedies we are calling on the betting industry to stop the practice of 'single-manning' shops and have a minimum of two workers on site at all times.

Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Burstow has already agreed to raise the issue in Parliament and frightened betting shop workers say it would make their jobs safer.

Mr Burstow said: "I think this is a very good issue to try to get some change on. I think it really is very bad that betting companies are prepared to put their staff at risk in this way.

"I'd be more than happy to raise this issue in Parliament. It is certainly worth it to shine a light on this important issue."

Betting shop workers have also backed the campaign.

One Ladbrokes worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "Ladbrokes have his blood on their hands. Single-manning is immoral - a money-pinching, anti-employee mess."

Despite Mr Iacovou's death, Ladbrokes said it has no plans to stop single manning.

A Ladbrokes spokesman said: "Betting shops throughout Britain have been opened and staffed by individuals in the morning for decades without any incidents.

"We only allow lone working in shops where staff are fully trained and where the shop is risk assessed. 

"We will look into all aspects of the incident and what lessons may be learned but it would be inappropriate to comment on our security procedures in detail."

This Is Local London: Safe Bet campaign logo 620px

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN:

  • Sign our petition to demand all bookmakers have a minimum of two workers on site at all times.
  • Do you work in a betting shop? We want to hear from you and your stories about why this issue is important. Anything we publish can be kept anonymous if you wish. Contact us on 020 8722 6350 or email mike.pyle@london.newsquest.co.uk.

 

Comments (7)

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1:30pm Thu 28 Nov 13

al the taxi says...

" we only allow lone working in shops where staff are fully trained and shop is risk assessed"is that Ladbrokes quote some sort of joke.Andrew had over 20 years with them,so was highly experienced and trained,but paid for his life because he was working on own and no response from panic button even though there was a police office next door.many Ladbrokes staff I speak to go to work scared as they have to work on their own.and all because Ladbrokes wont pay a cashier the minimum wage to sit in and work with them.greedy bookmakers.i use to use the morden branch most days but wont set foot in the place when it reopens.
" we only allow lone working in shops where staff are fully trained and shop is risk assessed"is that Ladbrokes quote some sort of joke.Andrew had over 20 years with them,so was highly experienced and trained,but paid for his life because he was working on own and no response from panic button even though there was a police office next door.many Ladbrokes staff I speak to go to work scared as they have to work on their own.and all because Ladbrokes wont pay a cashier the minimum wage to sit in and work with them.greedy bookmakers.i use to use the morden branch most days but wont set foot in the place when it reopens. al the taxi
  • Score: 4

3:49pm Thu 28 Nov 13

Mr Flange of Wallington says...

al the taxi wrote:
" we only allow lone working in shops where staff are fully trained and shop is risk assessed"is that Ladbrokes quote some sort of joke.Andrew had over 20 years with them,so was highly experienced and trained,but paid for his life because he was working on own and no response from panic button even though there was a police office next door.many Ladbrokes staff I speak to go to work scared as they have to work on their own.and all because Ladbrokes wont pay a cashier the minimum wage to sit in and work with them.greedy bookmakers.i use to use the morden branch most days but wont set foot in the place when it reopens.
If some nutter is going to come in and demand money with menaces, what difference is a 2nd member of staff going to make?

It's very hard to stop a determined nutter, short of equipping all your staff with tasers or guns.

It's so sad that this happened, but don't just go blaming the bookies.

How about stopping cash betting? That would take away the incentive.
[quote][p][bold]al the taxi[/bold] wrote: " we only allow lone working in shops where staff are fully trained and shop is risk assessed"is that Ladbrokes quote some sort of joke.Andrew had over 20 years with them,so was highly experienced and trained,but paid for his life because he was working on own and no response from panic button even though there was a police office next door.many Ladbrokes staff I speak to go to work scared as they have to work on their own.and all because Ladbrokes wont pay a cashier the minimum wage to sit in and work with them.greedy bookmakers.i use to use the morden branch most days but wont set foot in the place when it reopens.[/p][/quote]If some nutter is going to come in and demand money with menaces, what difference is a 2nd member of staff going to make? It's very hard to stop a determined nutter, short of equipping all your staff with tasers or guns. It's so sad that this happened, but don't just go blaming the bookies. How about stopping cash betting? That would take away the incentive. Mr Flange of Wallington
  • Score: 4

4:38pm Thu 28 Nov 13

harinra says...

Gambling Commission is Blind…

They only check THINK 21 on shop premises.
They no need to know about staff has work 13 hour shifts with 1.5 hour breaks. Fine company works for the papers very Legally.! But in the practical working practice is, Member has to start work 7.40am and the cashier gets around 1.30pm till 4.00pm. During that time member has to Bank and get Lunch and Dinner with in 1.5 hour break time.

And the government is happy as long they get there 20% TAX from each FOBT.
Gambling Commission is Blind… They only check THINK 21 on shop premises. They no need to know about staff has work 13 hour shifts with 1.5 hour breaks. Fine company works for the papers very Legally.! But in the practical working practice is, Member has to start work 7.40am and the cashier gets around 1.30pm till 4.00pm. During that time member has to Bank and get Lunch and Dinner with in 1.5 hour break time. And the government is happy as long they get there 20% TAX from each FOBT. harinra
  • Score: 2

7:12pm Thu 28 Nov 13

Fenori says...

I know a ladbrooke worker very well. They are very scared to comment or say any thing as they get disciplined and threaten with losing there jobs . They treat people terribly just given them a 16 hour contract over 5 days and if they want to get another job they have to ask permission.
they take very few bets now days in the shops and seem to rely on the fruit machines. fleecing people at terrible odds . On that point they say machine pay out 75% ,I think , but what they don't tell you is that's over all the machines in the country as they are all link together.
This is all going back to the Victorian days.
They don't seem to realise that if you treat your workers well then you get much more out of them.
Last point is that they only use the security cameras to check up on staff to see that there not using there phones etc
Point proven with Andrew lying there all that time !!!!!!!!!
The government thinks un employment is going down but its all part time workers.
I hope some thing is done and Andrews death is not totally wasted. Well done the Guardian and thanks you for this opportunity to comment.
I know a ladbrooke worker very well. They are very scared to comment or say any thing as they get disciplined and threaten with losing there jobs . They treat people terribly just given them a 16 hour contract over 5 days and if they want to get another job they have to ask permission. they take very few bets now days in the shops and seem to rely on the fruit machines. fleecing people at terrible odds . On that point they say machine pay out 75% ,I think , but what they don't tell you is that's over all the machines in the country as they are all link together. This is all going back to the Victorian days. They don't seem to realise that if you treat your workers well then you get much more out of them. Last point is that they only use the security cameras to check up on staff to see that there not using there phones etc Point proven with Andrew lying there all that time !!!!!!!!! The government thinks un employment is going down but its all part time workers. I hope some thing is done and Andrews death is not totally wasted. Well done the Guardian and thanks you for this opportunity to comment. Fenori
  • Score: 3

8:55pm Thu 28 Nov 13

Goat1964 says...

Safe bet should be introduced Andrew like myself were mangers in the old days, when safety was paramount and betting was regulated. I managed the biggest betting office in Morden William Hill for two years and was a female manger for William hill for 12 years in total. When the banking type screens and extended hours and slot machines were introduced I decided to leave an industry I enjoyed. I was fortunate to be able to drop my salary and start a new career something Andrew may not have been able to do. The government should re regulate the gambling industry, luckily it's an addiction I don't have but it's an issue of addiction that now needs addressing and a violent problem that gamblers will be in a shop and ignore a dying man for hours on end outrageous while sit in the shop and gamble on slot machines.
Safe bet should be introduced Andrew like myself were mangers in the old days, when safety was paramount and betting was regulated. I managed the biggest betting office in Morden William Hill for two years and was a female manger for William hill for 12 years in total. When the banking type screens and extended hours and slot machines were introduced I decided to leave an industry I enjoyed. I was fortunate to be able to drop my salary and start a new career something Andrew may not have been able to do. The government should re regulate the gambling industry, luckily it's an addiction I don't have but it's an issue of addiction that now needs addressing and a violent problem that gamblers will be in a shop and ignore a dying man for hours on end outrageous while sit in the shop and gamble on slot machines. Goat1964
  • Score: 0

1:14pm Sat 30 Nov 13

Sutton53 says...

Having worked in betting-shops for more years than I can remember (20 plus years) until I retrained for another completely different line of work, I can assure you the days of extended hours and one member of staff in the shop was when the rot set in and I bailed out! A second member of staff makes a great difference re:-security wise. Also they are a second pair of eyes to look for trouble. Apart from the fact that back in the old days they didn't have 'fruit machines' to deal with in the main part of the shop and when they go wrong the customer expects you to leave the area where you work. and fix it My own brother was held up by armed robbers in a betting shop. as he was closing up and was on his own. The big bosses in the betting-industry have absolutely no idea what the situation is for the workers. They just want each shop to make more and more money for the industry and their wages regardless of any thought for the workers.
Having worked in betting-shops for more years than I can remember (20 plus years) until I retrained for another completely different line of work, I can assure you the days of extended hours and one member of staff in the shop was when the rot set in and I bailed out! A second member of staff makes a great difference re:-security wise. Also they are a second pair of eyes to look for trouble. Apart from the fact that back in the old days they didn't have 'fruit machines' to deal with in the main part of the shop and when they go wrong the customer expects you to leave the area where you work. and fix it My own brother was held up by armed robbers in a betting shop. as he was closing up and was on his own. The big bosses in the betting-industry have absolutely no idea what the situation is for the workers. They just want each shop to make more and more money for the industry and their wages regardless of any thought for the workers. Sutton53
  • Score: 3

3:31pm Sat 30 Nov 13

GreenBrown says...

This whole sorry tale highlights so many problems this country now has. What a very useful addition this man has been to the country. One might ask why they let such a loser into the country in the first place. Britain 2013 = not a very nice place to live anymore. Don't believe the brainwashed when they tell you it's always been like this, it hasn't, they're lying.
This whole sorry tale highlights so many problems this country now has. What a very useful addition this man has been to the country. One might ask why they let such a loser into the country in the first place. Britain 2013 = not a very nice place to live anymore. Don't believe the brainwashed when they tell you it's always been like this, it hasn't, they're lying. GreenBrown
  • Score: 4

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