Bookmakers Robbed in London by Brit Using Collapsible Walking Stick as Gun

Posted on: June 8, 2022, 05:44h. 

Last updated on: June 8, 2022, 01:34h.

A thief witnesses described as “terrifying” was taking down bookmakers around London with a collapsible walking stick he transformed to look like a shotgun. His reign of terror ended after what might be described as a temporary lack of judgment.

Brett Mullan
Brett Mullan in a police mugshot. He robbed several bookmakers before police caught up with him. (Image: Met Police)

Brett Mullan pleaded guilty on Monday to five counts of robbery and five counts of possessing an imitation firearm at Snaresbrook Crown Court, according to local media outlet LBC. The 51-year-old criminal will return to the same court on August 1 for sentencing. Over the course of the robberies, he stole a total of £2,780 (US$3,489).

Mullan began his crime spree on April 4, only ending it when police caught up with him three weeks later. He may have realized he made a mistake when he offered his real name to a ticket-taker on a train – the train he took to commit his second offense.

The Eyes Have It

Detectives began investigating as armed robberies at bookmakers in Lee, Norwood, and Sutton seemed to have been perpetrated by the same man. They discovered that the suspect traveled by train to and from the crimes and took CCTV footage.

On April 13, Mullan made his way to a bookmaker on Burnt Ash Road in Lee via train. The ticket inspector stopped him and asked for his real name on that trip.

Putting the pieces together, officers discovered footage of Mullan’s robberies and corresponding footage of him leaving and returning home. On April 25, a day after his last robbery, they moved in and arrested him as he was leaving his home.

Police searched the house and found the collapsible walking stick. They discovered that Mullan disguised it in a bag to make it look like a shotgun.

Carl Stallabras, Detective Constable, stated that Mullan terrorized members of the public and staff at the bookmakers. He demanded money and threatened violence, even though the employees cooperated and didn’t resist.

The first robbery occurred in London’s Sutton borough on April 4. Next, Mullan hit the same location in Lee twice, on April 13 and 18. He then went after a bookmaker in Norwood Junction on April 23 before targeting a shop in Crayford the next day. When police arrested him on April 25, he may have been on his way to rob another shop.

Can’t Escape the Cameras

Criminals will be criminals, even when they know there’s a good chance of being caught. Mullan knew that there were cameras in the shops and on the streets that could lead investigators to him. Another would-be bookmaker thief in England figured it out – after the fact – in April, as well.

After his “furious” girlfriend broke up with him, a gambler who lost £500 (US$627) at a Whitby betting store returned to the shop with a 15-inch knife to demand his money back. Liam Bulmer was camping near Redcar when he gambled at a Ladbrokes branch on April 7. However, his bet was missed, and he lost the money – funds that were for the camping trip. That enraged his girlfriend.

Bulmer returned to the shop later that day with the weapon. When the shop wouldn’t give him a refund, he demanded money and left with £320 (US$401). His great escape didn’t last, though, and police caught him after trying to disappear on a bus.

Bulmer pleaded guilty to robbery and being in possession of the knife. He received three years in jail, half of which he will serve on house arrest.