A BETTING shop robber left the premises with a cash tray containing up to £70, after shouting threateningly at the lone female assistant.

But a court heard that he could have lawfully walked out of the William Hill bookmaker’s branch in Spennymoor with at least £30 more, an hour earlier.

Luke Knighton is now facing a potential prison sentence after admitting a charge of robbery of the assistant at the shop.

Durham Crown Court was told the victim of the robbery now wants to read a statement outlining the impact of the crime on her, prior to the defendant being sentenced, next week.

She was working an evening shift at the Cheapside premises on Thursday February 20, when the defendant, who she described as looking “dirty”, with “messy hair”, entered, wearing a khaki-coloured coat, at about 6pm.

He began playing a casino machine and won £101 on the roulette, but subsequently lost it all on the same game.

Having cashed in a 60p token he left, but returned at about 7pm when there were no other customers present.

Knighton approached the counter, repeatedly shouting “give me the money”, but telling the assistant he did not want to hurt her.

She pressed a panic button and locked herself in a back room, as Knighton took the tray, containing mixed coinage, from the cash machine and left the premises.

The defendant, 42, of Norfolk Place, Bishop Auckland, was remanded to remain in custody until he is sentenced, on Wednesday.