Stakes are high in Sheffield Hallam - as gamblers bet £15,000 on election result

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Election stakes are high in Sheffield Hallam and gamblers are aiming to cash in – with £15,000 of bets taken at just one bookmakers.

One bet of £5,000 is backing Nick Clegg to retain the Parliamentary seat for the Liberal Democrats, while another £3,000 has been placed on Labour candidate Oliver Coppard to become MP following the general election on Thursday, May 7.

Already £15,000 has been placed on the Hallam result through the country’s biggest independent bookmaker, Betfred – which it says is the most of any individual constituency in the country.

Fred Done, Betfred owner, said: “The betting industry as a whole has been taken by surprise by this most 
unpredictable general election in living memory.”

Betfred has 1,400 shops nationwide, including 10 in Sheffield, although none are in the Hallam constituency.

On overall results, an equal number of bets are backing a majority Conservative Government and a minority Labour one.

Mr Done said that was a ‘perfect indication of just how undecided the public are’. He said: “Sheffield Hallam, where Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is defending his seat for the Liberal Democrats, is the constituency where there is the greatest interest nationwide.”

Mr Clegg has insisted he is ‘confident but not complacent’ about keeping his seat, as he defends a majority of more than 15,000 votes from the last election five years ago.

Labour are targeting the seat in a bid to win it for the first time – and the most recent poll from renowned election pollster and Tory peer Lord Michael Ashcroft put them two points ahead.

Betfred odds for Hallam yesterday put Mr Clegg as the favourite to win at 1/2 while Mr Coppard’s odds were 13/8.

Conservative Ian Walker was 50/1, along with independent Carlton Reeve and Jim Stop The Fiasco Wild plus English Democrat Steve Clegg.

Green Party hopeful Peter Garbutt and UKIP’s Joe Jenkins were 100/1.