Gambling addict stole £73,000

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THE deputy manager of a bowling alley who stole more than £73,000 to fund his gambling addiction is starting a nine-month jail sentence.

Stuart Todd was working at the Hollywood Bowl on Kingswood, in Hull, and would often handle large amounts of cash by himself late at night, Hull Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Jharna Jobes said auditors called the company after bank deposits and amounts of cash went missing. Todd, 29, of Hodgson Avenue, Beverley, who was about to be spoken to, left “straightaway” and handed himself to the police.

John Thackray, defending, said: “He started robbing Peter to pay Paul, in expectation of a big win, but of course he didn’t, because he was moving on to betting shops and casinos and he was losing more and more. He appreciates now he had a serious problem.”

Mr Thackray said Todd had stopped gambling and hoped to have counselling: “He understands it is all his fault and accepts he must be punished,” he added.

His bank account with £9,500 had been frozen and he had repaid £500. He will have to return to court in August for a proceeds of crime hearing.

Hull Crown Court heard that Todd got into debt after starting to gamble on slot machines. He admitted theft at an earlier hearing at Hull Magistrates.

Sentencing him to a “relatively lenient” nine months in jail, Judge Michael Mettyear said: “I am perfectly prepared to accept that you are full of remorse for what you have done and you wish you could turn the clock back.

“I am urged to pass sentence that doesn’t mean your liberty is lost to you.

“I am afraid I can’t accede to that submission, if I was to let you escape having stolen this large amount of money how could I look in the face of people I see in the courts day in day out who don’t have your advantages or assets who commit offences of far less money?”