Immigrant faces deportation after robbery

A failed asylum seeker on the run from Ipswich police is today facing deportation after a vicious robbery at a bookmakers where he had gambled away all his money.

IPSWICH: A failed asylum seeker on the run from Ipswich police is today facing deportation after a vicious robbery at a bookmakers where he had gambled away all his money.

Convicted thief Mostak Chowdhury has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for twice attempting to steal back his gambling money from two different bookies.

A crown court was told that the 36-year-old's first brush with the law came when he attempted to claim back his �900 roulette losses at William Hill in Ipswich in 2006.

The manager, who heard him complaining of his losses, went to empty the machine and put the money in the staff room but when his back was turned Chowdhury sneaked into the out-of-bounds area, prosecutor Kerry Nutting told Guildford Crown Court.

She said: “A customer spotted him grabbing a handful of notes which he placed in his pocket.

“The customer approached him and a struggle took place. Once the defendant realised he could not escape he gave back all the money, �1,255.”

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The father-of-one was arrested at the scene.

The “hard-working, religious man” described as a “devout and gentle Muslim” then failed to answer his bail in Ipswich and was on the run from Suffolk police until August this year when his gambling frustrations again got the better of him.

The court heard by 9am one morning in August the Bangladeshi had already lost around �800 in Coral's in Farncombe, Surrey, when he approached the manager at the tills.

He jumped onto the counter demanding all the money. Ms Nutting said: “He grabbed her initially by the hand and then by the throat.”

She managed to break free and ran to the car park and Chowdhury, of no fixed abode, also fled, but he left his flip-flops behind.

He was arrested barefoot close to the scene of the crime and pleaded guilty to burglary and robbery.

Graham Smith, defending, said: “He is a gentle, practicing Muslim. The robbery in August was during Ramadan and he was feeling hungry, tired and angry.”

Judge Christopher Critchlow, sitting at Guildford Crown Court, sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment for the burglary and 30 months for the robbery, to run concurrently.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “We will seek to deport any non-European Economic Area nationals with a conviction of 12 months or longer. We have made it clear that we will not tolerate those that come here and break our laws and last year we deported a record 5,400 foreign criminals.”

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