A BOURNEMOUTH bookies was robbed on Friday afternoon, shortly after the Gold Cup took place at the Cheltenham Festival.

Police were called to reports of a robbery at Coral bookmakers, Seamoor Road, Westbourne, at 3.50pm.

Investigators say a lone male entered the bookies and threatened staff, saying he had a weapon.

He made off with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one is believed to have been hurt.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most prestigious of all National Hunt events – and a favourite with punters – got under way at 3.30pm.

Neighbouring businesses told the Echo they had no idea what was going on until the area was flooded with police cars.

The force helicopter and dog units were seen in the area as officers hunted for the offender.

The suspect is described as black, aged around 30, six feet tall and of large build with a bald head. He was wearing a dark jacket, black trousers and white trainers.

Detective Sergeant Mark Portelli, of Bournemouth CID, said: “I would like to reassure members of the public that we have launched a full investigation to identify the man responsible for this robbery.

“I would urge any witnesses or anyone who saw a man matching the description given in the area of Seamoor Road around the relevant time to contact us.

“I would also ask anyone who was driving in the area around the time of the incident to check their dashcam footage for anything relevant.

“I appreciate there may be concerns from members of the public as this is the second robbery involving a business incident in the town in two days. There is nothing at this stage to suggest the incidents are linked but we will have an increased police presence in the area and local officers can be approached with any concerns.”

This is the latest in a string of robberies that have taken place at bookies across the conurbation in recent months.

In January staff were allegedly threatened with a screwdriver during a raid at a Poole bookmakers, days after a similar attack at a bookies in West Moors.

Yesterday, men armed with a Samurai sword raided Franses Jewellers in Westover Road, Bournemouth.