Brit Uses Collapsible Walking Stick as Gun to Rob Bookmakers in London

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Brit Uses Collapsible Walking Stick as Gun to Rob Bookmakers in London

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

Brett Mullan pleaded guilty to five counts of robbery and five counts of possessing an imitation firearm at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday, 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 was traveling by train to and from the crimes and took CCTV footage of him.

On April 13, Mullan made his way to a bookmaker on Burnt Ash Road in Lee via train. On that trip, the ticket inspector stopped him and asked for his real name. He gave it, apparently oblivious to the fact that he was sealing his fate.

Putting the pieces together, officers discovered footage of Mullan’s robberies and corresponding footage of him as he left and returned 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 as well as 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, as well as 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 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 he tried to disappear on a bus.

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

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