Crime & the Law

Gambler tricked thousands out of betting shops

Betting shop CCTV footage of O'Connor. Image: Met Police.

Betting shop CCTV footage of John O’Connor. Image: Met Police.

A man who used intimidation and confusion to trick betting shop cashiers into believing he had won bets has been sentenced this week.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how 33 year old John O’Connor from St Mary’s Road, Ealing, conned staff at 14 branches of Ladbrokes betting shops using a method referred to as ‘slow count fraud.’

O’Connor carried out his cons at betting shops in Hillingdon, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster, as well as other locations across the UK.

He was charged with 15 counts of fraud by misrepresentation, to which he pleaded guilty on 24th November last year.

His tactics included placing a bet but then distracting the cashier – sometimes with the help of friends – by asking questions, becoming rowdy or placing a series of small, obscure bets at the same time.

This would allow him time to see if his runner was likely to win.

If it won, he would hand over his stake and claim the profit, or else pretend he had already paid and ask only for his winnings.

He would then place the non-existent stake on another bet.

If he lost, he would leave without paying the stake.

While on bail and awaiting sentencing, he carried out the same offence at a William Hill shop in Birmingham.

It’s believed he may have carried out the same scam on many more unknown occasions.

On Monday O’Connor received a prison sentence of 18 months that was suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to four months of alcohol treatment.

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