Former Ducati bike racer David Shoubridge jailed for string of robberies across Hertfordshire

  • David Shoubridge describes his racing career and injuries

A former champion motorcyclist who turned to crime after racking up gambling and drug debts has been jailed for a string of robberies.

David Shoubridge, who just two years ago won the Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup Championship at Brands Hatch, carried out a string of raids across Hertfordshire.

He claimed he had become "a lost soul" who was battling debts, and described his spree as "the biggest mistakes of my life".

He targeted betting shops and service stations across the county, netting more than £100,000.

Shoubridge, 35, from Hatfield, admitted numerous offences committed between November 2022 and July 2023 at bookmakers in Hatfield and Potters Bar and the Welcome Break service station at South Mimms.

These included offences of robbery, attempted robbery, going equipped for theft, attempted theft, possession of an imitation firearm, thefts and possession of a firearm.

He was jailed for eight years.Shoubridge, who wore a dark blue suit, was supported by 13 members of friends and family in the gallery, and broke down in tears when the sentence was passed.

Prosecution barrister Philip Mizner said Shoubridge wore black clothing and a balaclava or motorbike helmet and wielded what appeared to be a handgun when targeting premises.

On several occasions he used an angle grinder and crowbar to break into cash machines, and at one robbery left his DNA on a magazine belonging to a BB pistol which allowed police to link him to the offence.

Shoubridge was eventually caught at the scene of an attempted robbery, and apprehended by police using a Taser.

One of his victims, who worked at a Ladbrokes betting shop told the court: “Everything felt like it was going at 100 miles an hour, but it also felt like a lifetime. My heart was racing the whole time and I couldn’t stop crying... I didn’t leave the house for days after.”

In the wake of the attempted robbery she suffered repeated nightmares about someone with a balaclava breaking into her home.

Another of his victims, a 20-year-old university student working in a bookmakers to earn money for her education, said after the robbery: “I felt genuine terror, fell to the floor crying and screaming while this man stood above me pointing the gun down at me. I was so scared I couldn’t even get up. He grabbed my arm, forcing me up and leaving bruises."

'An air of desperation'

In mitigation, defence barrister Dan Taylor said there was nothing he could say which could diminish the impact Shoubridge’s actions had on his victims, but suggested although the offences were planned, it was not professional and often fairly amateurish.

“There is an air of desperation about some of the robberies that took place,” he said.

“Until he fell into the drug and gambling habits which are the cause of this offending he led a successful career as a British motorbike champion.”

He described it as an incredibly sad case, and a life-changing event for the victims, the defendant and his family.

“This is someone who is beginning to come to terms with what caused him to offend in this way.”

Shoubridge, who has been baptised in prison, had been using his time in custody to help fellow inmates in a variety of ways, including with reading and learning skills, said his barrister.

The former racer said in a statement that his offending was completely out of my character and genuinely weighed heavily on his heart, adding: “I truly hope one day in the future my victims can understand I’m not a career criminal but a lost soul battling gambling debts, leading to the biggest mistakes of my life.”

Sentencing, Judge Michael Roques said: “It is an extraordinary list of offences for someone who has never been before the court before… I cannot describe this as an aberration or a one-off moment of madness on your behalf.

“To live in fear is a terrible consequence for anybody and it seems to be an entirely predictable consequence of the way you chose to act.”

He passed sentence for all offences together, and jailed Shoubridge for eight years, taking into account his early guilty plea.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...