A man has been jailed after robbing two betting shops in New Cross, threatening staff and imitating a gun in his pocket in two "terrifying incidents."

Kenneth Brown, of no address, was arrested by armed police officers after he handed one cashier a note which said "give me the money, or I will blow your ******* head off."

The 53-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted robbery and one count of robbery when he appeared at Croydon Crown Court via Skype on Wednesday, April 22.

He has been jailed for a total of four years and eight months.

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Brown first robbed a betting shop in New Cross Road, on 11 March, entering the shop at around 6.45pm and handing the cashier the aggressive handwritten note.

He also had his right hand in his pocket pointing it at a member of staff, intimating that he had a gun or weapon, and managed to make off with a small amount of cash.

Brown returned to the same betting shop just six days later, verbally demanding money and again imitating a gun in his pocket.

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This time a member of staff activated the emergency button and he left the shop empty-handed.

Around 10 minutes later, he entered a different betting shop on the same road and repeated his act, handing a note to the person behind the counter demanding money and making threats.

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The two staff members escaped to the back office and called police, forcing Brown to leave the store.

Armed officers arrived and were given a suspect description, and with 20 minutes of the robbery they located Brown and arrested him.

Brown was charged on Tuesday, March 24. He first appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, March 25.

Detective Constable Dennis Valdez, from the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “These were terrifying incidents for the workers who were threatened by Brown.

“Armed officers were at the scene of the final robbery attempt within minutes.

"Brown was located in the area and detained very quickly, and he was linked to the previous robbery offences shortly after.

"The seriousness of the offences is reflected in the custodial sentences handed down.”