BETTING shop staff struggled to take a robber seriously after he crashed into a litter bin as he walked towards the counter and dropped a note demanding cash from the till.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard how Grenville Martin, 32, had stumbled into Ladbrokes on Poole High Street, smelling of alcohol.

Prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court, Jenny Rickman described the robbery, on the evening of April 24 this year, as “a little unusual”.

She said: “He appeared drunk and was walking unsteadily when he collided with a bin. He dropped a piece of paper and it was handed back to him before he leaned across towards the deputy manager Rachel Green and said: ‘Give me £50... I have a gun.’ “Miss Green looked at him and he could see she was unsure whether he was serious. In a menacing voice, he said: ‘I’ve got a gun. There are two people waiting outside.’”

It was only after Martin “fumbled in his jacket” that she realised he might be armed and asked him if he wanted more than £50. He declined.

Mrs Rickman added: “After she handed over the money he stumbled out of the shop.”

Martin, of no fixed abode, was arrested by a police officer who recognised him from Miss Green’s description.

He was still carrying the missing money.

He told police he had committed the robbery to fund a heroin habit costing up to £100 a day.

In his defence, the court heard that Martin had penned an apology to Miss Green and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to “this rather peculiar robbery”.

His offending stemmed from his dependence on alcohol and drugs, but he was determined to address his problems and had shown genuine remorse.

Jailing Martin for 12 months, Recorder Jane Miller QC told him: “What you did was quite deliberate and frightening.

“I accept the reason was that you needed money for drugs or alcohol.

“Miss Green was very frightened indeed. She thought that there might be a gun inside your jacket.”