Gambler threatened to 'smash up' Sunderland bookies and female worker after losing cash on betting machine

A Wearside gambler lost his cool and threatened to “smash up” a female betting shop worker and her High Street bookies’ outlet when he lost his cash, a court heard.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 5:52 pm

Rasoul Razei, 46, of High Street East, Sunderland, lost his cool when his losses on machines mounted in William Hill’s city centre Holmeside branch.

Razei, an Iranian who has lived in the UK for 20 years, struck fear into an assistant who was working alone, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.

In a victim statement read to the court, she said the experience had left her “an emotional wreck” and added: “I’m nervous if the male were to return. I have never seen anyone acting this way before.”

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Razei was spared being jailed but given a four-week sentence, suspended for 12 months. Magistrates also banned him from the outlet for a year.

Prosecutor Lee Poppett said he entered the premises at 7.30pm on Sunday, June 30, adding: “She was the only person working. He becomes almost immediately aggressive and bangs on the machine.

“He says ‘I’m going to smash the place up, I’m going to smash you up’. She believed that he was going to carry out the threats due to his behaviour.”

Gerry Armstrong, defending, said: “He came to the UK 20 years ago. He is completely estranged from his family, he’s not allowed back in that country for his personal safety.

“He was homeless, and gambling was a means of recreation for him but a very expensive one.

“The machine had taken his money and he was trying to get what he thought was credit. He got frustrated. It was him who said, ‘get the police, get the police’ and she said, ‘yes, I’ll get them’.

“He then sits waiting for twenty minutes. I think he thought that going to the police was going to help him with the betting companies.

“He apologises to her, it was frustration. He appreciates that he has to be punished for this. He hasn’t been back to these premises at all.”

Razei, who pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour, must also pay a £122 victim surcharge and £85 costs.