Brett Mullan, 50, of Wellington Street, Gravesend, was sentenced on Monday, 1 August, at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
On Tuesday, April 26, he pleaded guilty to five counts of robbery and five counts of being in possession of an imitation firearm at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court.
Between Monday, April 4 and Sunday, April 24, the Flying Squad investigated a series of armed robberies at bookmakers in Lee, Norwood, Sutton, and Crayford.
Officers quickly discovered that the suspect was travelling to and from the crimes by train, so CCTV was obtained.
Mullan was stopped on a train on his way to the second offence in Burnt Ash Road by a railway revenue ticket inspector on Wednesday, 13 April, and provided his real name.
Police then gathered video evidence of each offence, as well as Mullan leaving and returning to his home address.
He was arrested and charged by Flying Squad officers on Monday, April 25th, after leaving his home.
When detectives searched his home address, they discovered a collapsible walking stick. After reviewing CCTV footage, it was discovered that this is what he used to disguise a shotgun by concealing it within a carrier bag.
During the robberies, a total of £2,780 was stolen.
“Mullan terrified members of the public and staff at the bookmakers who were going about their normal lives when he demanded cash and made threats of serious violence,” said Detective Constable Carl Stallabras of the Met’s Flying Squad. Those people were terrified for their lives.
“However, a simple error on his way to the second offence was all we needed to track him down, and the wealth of evidence we obtained from there left him with no choice but to plead guilty.”