An armed robber who held up a West Molesey bookmakers on April Fool’s Day has been jailed for seven years.

Richard Coleman, 45, of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday, May 15, after pleading guilty on April 24.

Coleman was wearing a bandana to cover his face when he went in to Ladbrokes in Walton Road at about 10.30am on April 1 and pointed an imitation handgun at an elderly customer.

He shouted at the man and others in the store to get on to the floor before pointing the gun at the cashier and demanding money.

As Coleman put £2,295 into his bag, one man escaped and told people what was happening.

Upon leaving the betting shop, and having put his gun away, Coleman got on to his bike before being tackled to the floor by two men.

Four workmen nearby also helped restrain Coleman until police arrived, with all the men commended at the sentencing by judge Christopher Critchlow for their “fearless” actions.

Detective Constable Philip Carter said: “This was a planned attack which terrified members of staff and public at the shop who were none the wiser that his firearm wasn't real.

“The actions of members of the public on that day cannot be underestimated and it goes without saying that we applaud them for their bravery in apprehending the robber.

“While we would not normally encourage the intervention of bystanders for fear of their own safety, on this occasion it helped apprehend and ultimately led to the successful prosecution of this brazen criminal.”

Coleman was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 alongside his prison sentence.

The money taken in the robbery has been fully accounted for and returned to the shop.