A MEMBER of staff at a Swindon bookmaker has admitted his part in a staged armed robbery when more than £8,000 was stolen.

Betting office employee Matthew Smith, 23, told police he had been held up at gunpoint after Luke Corcoran, 20, had pretended to carry out the raid last month in the Coral bookies on Market Street, town centre.

The pair got away with £8,300 following the escapade which took place at about 6pm on Sunday, December 6.

But when they appeared at Swindon crown court both men pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to steal.

Now they have been warned they face jail for what the judge described as ‘serious offences’.

Corcoran, of Stanier Street, also admitted possessing an imitation firearm at the time of committing a specified offence.

At the time of the incident police said the ‘robber’ went behind the counter of the store and threatened the cashier before telling him to empty money in a bag and making off.

Smith, who gave the court an address in Princess Risborough, Buckinghamshire, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by making a false allegation of robbery.

Judge John McNaught remanded Corcoran in custody but warned Smith, who was released on bail, to face the real prospect of jail and should not see being released as a leniency.

He said: “Don’t be lulled.

“These are serious offences and it is almost inevitable there must be prison sentences.

“Don’t think because you are on bail it is likely to be anything other than a prison sentence.”

Smith was released on condition he lives at the address in Buckinghamshire, does not contact his co-defendant and stays out of Swindon.

The case adjourned until Friday, February 5 when the pair will face sentence.