Wed, 25 Nov 2020
PLANS for a gambling outlet in Newbury town centre were approved following company reassurances that its existing premises were “not on the police radar”.
But a brief internet search reveals a string of robberies involving firearms, cleavers and other weapons at Cashino Gaming premises.
On Wednesday, October 11, West Berkshire Council’s western area planning committee voted to allow the bingo and slot machine venue at the former William Hill bookmakers in Market Place.
During the debate, Tony Vickers (Lib Dem, Newbury Wash Common) warned: “They are unlikely to ever have more than one person working there at a time, which is a slight concern... if there is a disturbance.”
The planning committee imposed a condition that requires the gaming centre to close at 3am on Saturday and Sunday mornings and to shut at midnight on every other night of the week.
Philip Kolvin QC, a barrister representing Cashino, told the meeting there was “no evidence” to suggest the outlet will generate crime or antisocial behaviour in Newbury town centre.
Mr Kolvin also told a licensing sub-committee, which has granted a licence: “The reason my client’s venues are not on police radars is because they rarely generate crime and disorder.”
In a written decision, the sub-committee said objectors had raised concerns about “what the future might hold”, but did not provide “any evidence” to support claims that opening the gaming centre would lead to an increase in crime and disorder.
It also said police had no concerns about the gaming centre, to be named Merker Slots, and that Cashino Gaming’s nationwide premises “rarely generate any issues of crime and disorder.”
However, the following instances will have certainly registered on police radar:
n In August 2018, the Southern Daily Echo reported the hunt for a knife-wielding man who attacked woman at a Cashino outlet in Southampton.
The victim, a staff member, sustained bruises and scratches in the attack.
n In May 2017, the Scottish Sun reported how a man armed with a meat cleaver made off with over £1,000 in a terrifying raid at the Cashino gambling centre in Edinburgh after threatening a young member of staff who was working alone.
n In June 2015, the Ipswich Star told how a gambling addict was jailed for two years and eight months for wrecking up to £250,000 worth of slot machines in an Ipswich arcade.
A court heard how, earlier that same day, the 32-year-old had lost £30 playing machines at the same arcade and before starting his 20-minute wrecking spree told staff that they had “mugged him off”.
n In January 2015, the Newham Recorder in London reported how two raiders used kitchen knives and screwdrivers to carry out a robbery at a Cashino outlet there.
During the raid in High Street North, Newham, one offender repeatedly tried to stab a 28-year-old male employee with a sharpened screwdriver, despite the victim complying with the group’s every demand.
The Metropolitan Police Flying Squad intercepted them on their way back from robbing another Cashino premises at Wood Green.
n In June 2014, a hooded gunman held up a Hereford casino and forced staff to face a wall until they handed over more than £2,000 in takings.
Worcester Crown Court was told two staff members feared being shot.
The armed robber was jailed for six years after a customer managed to slip away from the early morning hold-up to call the police.
n In 2013, the Sutton and Croydon Guardian reported how a 26-year-old was jailed for eight years for threatening a worker at Cashino in Sutton High Street with a knife, knocking her to the floor and robbing £1,800 from the safe.
The judge heard he had become addicted to gambling and drugs.
The company has not responded to requests for a comment.