Northamptonshire fancy dress robber jailed for life

Martin Reilly (suspected armed robber)
Martin Reilly (suspected armed robber)
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A serial armed robber from Kettering who dressed up as Elvis Presley and sported other bizarre disguises when he targeted betting shops across Britain was today jailed for life.

Martin Reilly, 53, formerly of Thorngate Street, Kettering, used wigs, hats, false beards, moustaches and a fright mask to alter his appearance and hide distinctive scarring on his cheeks during hold-ups.

Sitting at Brighton Crown Court, Judge Paul Tain told Reilly he would serve a minimum of 12 years for the armed robberies which left his victims “immensely frightened”.

He told Reilly his guilty pleas to seven armed robberies, one attempted armed robbery and seven counts of possession of a firearm at Lewes Crown Court in January this year had saved his vulnerable victims from having to attend court to “recite the information they are no doubt reliving in their post-traumatic stress disorder state”.

Reilly carried out the raids between June 13 and October 10 last year after falling out with his probation officer who had told him he could not move back to Ireland where his family lives.

Prosecutor Amanda Kelly said many of his victims were still suffering from anxiety as a result of the armed robberies.

She said: “Although none of the victims of these robberies suffered any physical injury, all of them suffered mental anguish and some of them are still suffering the psychological effects today.

“Several of them report ongoing anxiety and sleep difficulties as a result of these offences and virtually all of them say that their daily working lives have been gravely affected by what they experienced.”