A man who committed a series of robberies across Wolverhampton and Walsall to fund his gambling addiction has been jailed for 14 years.
William Finch donned an array of disguises in August last year to rob a building society, convenience store, bookmakers, Post Office and two bingo halls.
He concealed what appeared to be a gun in a bag and demanded cash from all of his victims during the two-month crime spree.
The 57-year-old was caught after detectives from West Midlands Policeâ€™s Serious Acquisitive Crime team released a CCTV image of him committing one of the crimes.
Acting on information received following the appeal, armed police raided his home address on Bilston Lane, Willenhall in October last year.
A BMW linked to one of the robberies was found in the car park and police also seized face paint, a fake beard and a pair of glasses from his flat âˆ’ believed to be used by Finch for his disguises.
He denied all of the offences but was found guilty of five robberies, an attempted robbery and six counts of possessing an imitation firearm by a jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Friday (16 May).
Finch first struck on the morning of 9 August when he threatened customers and staff at West Bromwich Building Society in Wednesbury. Later that month he robbed the One Stop Convenience Store on Middleway Green in Wolverhampton on 31 August.
His next victims were Coral Bookmakers on Highfields Road, Bradley on 17 September, followed by Mecca Bingo in Bilston on 23 September and Rough Hay Post Office on Hall Street in Darlaston two days later.
The final robbery before Finch was caught was at Gala Bingo on Steelmans Road in Darlaston on 28 September, where he stole more than Â£2,000.
Detective Sergeant Paul Reeves, from Force CID in Bloxwich, said: “His motivation for these crimes was brought about by his dire financial position fuelled by his compulsive gambling at the casino.
“He subjected his victims to a traumatic and terrifying ordeal; many of them were women and some were pregnant at the time.
“Iâ€™m pleased with the lengthy sentence and that Finch is now unable to cause hurt and distress to anyone else with his repeated offending.”