A MAN brandished a knife at workers when he struck at a Holbury bookmakers in a string of terrifying raids across the county.
Police hunting the suspect are linking the incident at Ladbrokes in Long Lane with four similar robberies this month.
At around 5.10pm on 20th January a man entered the Holbury store with a knife in his hand.
He jumped over the counter and demanded the staff member open the safe before he made off with a haul of cash.
Similar incidents involving a masked man with a knife occurred at Ladbrokes stores in Chandlers Ford on 27th January.
He is also believed to be behind a robbery at Corals on 13th January in Bitterne, the following day at BetFred in Romsey, and on 23rd January at BetFred in Hedge End.
The man is described as approximately 5ft 9ins tall and wearing a black hooded top, with the hood up. He had a black scarf or snood with no eye or mouth holes covering his face and he was also wearing black gloves.
DC Alison Humby said: “We’re appealing for information to help identify a man involved in a series of betting shop robberies which have occurred in Southampton and surrounding areas since mid-January.
“On each occasion the offender has been carrying a knife and entered the betting shop either close to closing time or when the shop opens. In all incidents he has made off with quantities of cash.”
Referring to CCTV which has been released from the robbery in Chandlers Ford (pictured), she added: “The offender has disguised himself very well, as you can see from the CCTV. However, we’ve issued the images to demonstrate the severity of what has happened.
“The offender has used a distinctive red knife which is visible in the CCTV. Do you know anyone that owns a knife like this? Have recently acquired a large amount of cash?”
She added: “We’ve been engaging with the bookmakers’ head offices and have spoken with them at length offering them advice and information.
“They have ensured that their staff have been fully briefed about what to do and how to keep safe if they find themselves in this type of situation.”
A Ladbrokes Coral spokesperson said: “We can confirm a number of incidents have taken place. We are now assisting police with their enquiries.”
Anyone with information or who recognises the man in the CCTV is asked to call Hampshire Constabulary on 101 quoting reference 44190032517 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.