A FIREARM which police believe was used in an attempted armed robbery at a Mansfield bookmakers has been found.
The imitation pistol-grip, pump-action shotgun was discovered under a pile of tyres in Layton Burroughs, on the town’s Ladybrook estate, just a mile from the scene of the crime.
Two members of staff were subjected to a terrifying ordeal at around 9.20pm on 9th November 2011, when a masked man walked into the William Hill betting shop, on the Ladybrook Place shopping precinct, Ladybrook Lane.
He threatened 55-year-old Carol with a gun, before demanding she hand over cash but her colleague, 54-year-old Sharon, raised the alarm and the man left empty-handed.
There were no customers in the shop at the time of the attack and while neither woman was injured, they have suffered lasting mental and emotional effects.
The suspect is described as being between 5ft 7ins and 5ft 9ins tall and of medium build. He is believed to have a fair skin tone and was dressed in a dark-coloured coat with a hooded top and dark, fitted trousers, possibly jeans. He wore dark-coloured gloves on his hands and a cream or yellow mask, which had a beak.
He spoke with a local accent and walked with a distinctive gait.
Police believe Mansfield residents may hold the key to identifying the offender.
Det Sgt Stuart Temple, who is leading the investigation, said: “The recovery of this weapon has been an important breakthrough in the case, but we now need the help of the public to tie up the loose ends.
“It is a blue air weapon, which has been painted black and fixed with black duct tape to make it look like the real thing.
“Carol and Sharon could never have known it was an imitation. Despite it being a replica the pellets could still have caused a great deal of damage if fired.
“What is very interesting is that these types of weapons are quite uncommon and a special licence is required to possess one.
“Have you seen this gun before? Do you know who it belongs to? If so, call us.”
Chad reported last week how manager Carol, a grandmother, has not been able to return to the job she has loved for 34 years since that night. She continues to receive counselling and prescription medication.
Mother-of-two Sharon now dreads working the late shift and her husband meets her outside to take her home.
The Association of British Bookmakers has offered a reward of up to £10,000 to anyone who can provide information leading to the prosecution of the offender.
Two men and a woman arrested and bailed in connection with the robbery were released with no further action.
Det Sgt Temple said: “I urge people from the area to cast their minds back to that dark, cold, dry November evening last year. It was the Wednesday after Bonfire Night weekend.
“Were you in the area? Did you stop in at the neighbouring grocery shop or enjoy a pint at the nearby Ladybrook Hotel pub?
“Did you see a man dressed in black running across the adjacent recreation ground?”
Anyone with any information should phone 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.