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Betting shop worker pretended to be victim of armed robbery she helped plan


A betting shop worker has been jailed for 12 years after faking being a victim of a £11,000 armed robbery she helped plan Two armed robbers were captured on CCTV bursting into the bookmakers in Thanet, Kent, on August 30 and threatening assistant manager Natalie Solari behind the counter, who appeared to be terrified Tyler McNeill, 26 and Daniel O’Reilly, 39, carried imitation firearms as they robbed the shop and were seen demanding Solari empty the till and fill their bags with cash while pointing the weapon in her direction Solari, 30, pressed the panic alarm and hid under the desk where she sobbed uncontrollably, Birmingham Live reports The men fled the scene in a black Renault Megane driven by 29-year-old Simon Bennett after nicking more than £11,000 in cash Firearms officers from Kent Police attended the scene and carried out inquiries in the area in order to locate the suspects Two men matching their descriptions were arrested the same day but later found not to be involved and detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate continued to investigate Following the review of CCTV, police said it was clear there were three people involved, two who carried out the robbery and one man who was waiting outside to drive them away Bennett and McNeill were identified on camera in Canterbury earlier that day, which is where the vehicle used in the robbery was picked up Their phone data uncovered the alleged victim, Solari, could be involved after McNeill called Solari on the day of the robbery Solari was also linked to O’Reilly. On September 21, last year the getaway vehicle was clamped by the DVLA in St Luke’s Avenue, Ramsgate for lack of road tax and taken to a compound Police found Bennett and McNeill’s DNA in the vehicle. On December 11 last year Solari, of Margate and Bennett, of no fixed address were arrested in connection with the robbery McNeill, of Aylesham, was arrested in Maidstone on February 16 and O’Reilly of Dymchurch was interviewed by police on May 13 McNeill and O’Reilly each pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and the possession of an imitation firearm Bennett and Solari were also charged with the robbery but denied the offences. Solari claimed she did know McNeill but had no idea he was responsible for the robbery and had not recognised his voice at the time Bennett told police Solari had planned the robbery and sent McNeill messages at the time telling him the safe was unlocked and that they should hurry up Bennett told officers although he drove McNeill and O’Reilly to the bookmakers that day he didn’t know at the time that he was part of a robbery Their trial concluded on June 17 at Canterbury Crown Court where both Bennett and Solari were found guilty by a jury All four thieves were sentenced together at the same court on Tuesday. Solari received 12 years in prison, Bennett received five years in prison, McNeill received eight and a half years and O’Reilly received seven and a half years Detective Inspector James Derham from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “These people worked together to steal from and deceive Solari’s employer “They carried out a robbery that would have looked terrifying to the innocent and unsuspecting members of the public both inside and outside the bookmakers at that time “Solari claimed to be a victim in this ordeal but was caught out due to the diligence and hard work of officers investigating the case “Thankfully a jury saw through her account along with Bennett’s. Their gamble didn’t pay off and all four of them will now spend time in prison “Violent crimes will simply not be tolerated and Kent Police remains committed to identifying those people involved and gathering all the evidence possible to ensure a conviction ”

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