A betting shop worker has been jailed for 12 years after pretending to be terrified during a £11,000 armed robbery that she helped to plan.
Shocking CCTV shows Natalie Solari, 30, acting terrified when robbers burst in to the bookmakers in Thanet, Kent on August 30, 2019.
The robbery saw Tyler McNeill, 26, and Daniel O’Reilly, 39, wearing masks and carrying imitation firearms, which they point towards Solari throughout.
Their phone data uncovered that the alleged victim, Solari, could be involved after McNeill called Solari on the day of the robbery.
Solari told police she did know McNeill but had no idea he was responsible for the robbery and had not recognised his voice at the time.
Shocking CCTV shows Natalie Solari, 30, acting terrified when robbers burst in to the bookmakers (shown) in Thanet, Kent on August 30, 2019
However getaway driver Simon Bennett told police Solari had planned the robbery herself and sent McNeill messages telling him the safe was unlocked and that they should hurry up.
A trial heard how the pair pretended to threaten Solari, who was working behind the counter as the assistant manager.
The footage shows the robbers demanding Solari to fill their bag with cash, causing her to open a safe and take out dozens of bank notes.
They hurried her along, shouting for her to empty the till, which she did before pressing the panic alarm and hiding under the desk.
Witnesses claims she sobbed uncontrollably until the arrival of armed police, who were dispatched to the scene.
The men fled the scene in a black Renault Megane that was being driven by 29-year-old Simon Bennett after bagging more than £11,000 in cash.
Two men matching their descriptions were arrested the same day but later found not to be involved and detectives continued to investigate.
Following the review of CCTV, police said it was clear there were three people involved; two who carried out the robbery and one man who was waiting outside.
Natalie Solari, Simon Bennett and Tyler McNeill, who were all sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court today
Bennett and McNeill were identified on camera in Canterbury earlier that day, which is where the vehicle used in the robbery was picked up.
The getaway vehicle was later clamped by the DVLA in Ramsgate for lack of road tax and taken to a compound, and police later found Bennett and McNeill’s DNA inside.
McNeill and O’Reilly each pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and the possession of an imitation firearm.
Bennett and Solari were also charged with the robbery but denied the offences.
Bennett told officers that although he drove McNeill and O’Reilly to the bookmakers that day he did not know at the time that he was part of a robbery.
Their trial concluded on June 17 at Canterbury Crown Court where both Bennett and Solari were found guilty by a jury.
The footage shows the robbers demanding Solari to fill their bag with cash, causing her to open a safe and take out dozens of bank notes (shown bottom right)
All four thieves were sentenced together at the same court on Tuesday.
Solari received 12 years, Bennett received five years, McNeill received eight and a half years and O’Reilly received seven and a half years.
Detective Inspector James Derham said: ‘These people worked together to steal from and deceive Solari’s employer.
‘They carried out a robbery that would have looked terrifying to the innocent and unsuspecting members of the public both inside and outside the bookmakers at that time.
‘Solari claimed to be a victim in this ordeal but was caught out due to the diligence and hard work of officers investigating the case.
‘Thankfully a jury saw through her account along with Bennett’s. Their gamble didn’t pay off and all four of them will now spend time in prison.
‘Violent crimes will simply not be tolerated and Kent Police remains committed to identifying those people involved and gathering all the evidence possible to ensure a conviction.’
Solari hands over the bag of cash. All four thieves were sentenced together at the same court on Tuesday and jailed for a combined 33 years