Ladbrokes Coral Bilked Out of £600K by UK Gang Using Laminated Banknotes

Posted on: November 27, 2021, 05:29h. 

Last updated on: November 27, 2021, 06:16h.

Four UK men who admitted scamming betting shops out of £600,000 (US $800,000) using laminated banknotes have been handed prison sentences of between one and four years.

Ladbrokes Coral
Charlie Shaw, left, and Thomas Wheatcroft, pictured in Metropolitan Police mugshots. They were said to be the ringleaders of the group and received the stiffest sentences. (Image: Metropolitan Police)

Thomas Wheatcroft, 40, Charlie Shaw, 33, Michael Sadgove-Tarrant, 37, and Paul Hubbold, 59, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud at Kingston Crown Court this week.

The court heard the scam involved the gang covering £20 and £50 notes in plastic before entering them into self-service kiosks to register bets. Then they used a plastic cord attached to the banknote to yank it out of the machine.

Disguise and Confuse

The fraud was repeated 168 times at Ladbrokes and Coral outlets across England between June 2020 and July this year, according to prosecutors. Each member of the gang wore the same outfit when perpetrating the scam to disguise themselves from security cameras and confuse authorities, the court heard.

When police raided one gang member’s home, they found bags of clothing that included 20 identical baseball caps.

Numerous outlets notified authorities when they noticed takings were down, and the gang was identified from security surveillance footage.

The total hit to Ladbrokes and Coral is £663,556 (US $885,349) so far, police said.

“The substantial sums of money stolen by the group is a significant loss to the businesses these men had targeted,” said Scotland Yard’s Detective Constable Kevin Parley.

We worked closely with security officials from both firms to carry out a joint investigation, which included gathering evidence to bring forward a robust case against the four men,” Parley added. 

Police said Wheatcroft and Shaw were the group’s ringleaders. They were sentenced to four years and three months and two years in prison, respectively. Sadgove-Tarrant was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for two years, while Hubbold received nine months, suspended for 18 months.

The Man Who Wrote the Book

In March this year, the man who wrote the book on scamming bookmakers, literally, was sentenced to 21 weeks in prison for following his own advice.

Jason Haddigan, author of How and Why I Conned the Bookies, was described in court as a “notorious conman.”

Haddigan pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and two counts of fraud by false representation at Swansea Crown Court.

According to prosecutors, his modus operandi was to “befriend and confuse” staff in betting shops before using sleight of hand techniques to produce winning betting slips after a race had run.

“He would then deliberately scribble and forge betting slips and use his knowledge of the working procedures and equipment they use to con the cashier with a sleight of hand technique to switch the original slip for a forged one,” prosecutors said.