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Felixstowe: Compulsive gambler stole nearly £8,000 from slot machines at Charles Manning arcade where he worked

14:39 11 April 2014

Paul Elphick

Paul Elphick

Archant

A compulsive gambler has been jailed after stealing nearly £8,000 from the Felixstowe arcade where he worked to fund his slot machine habit.

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Ipswich magistrates heard Paul Elphick’s fixation began when he won £500 from a machine while employed at the Charles Manning-owned Arcadian.

Elphick, of Maidstone Road, Felixstowe, was sentenced to 20 weeks’ imprisonment after admitting five counts of theft by employee.

The 23-year-old stole a total of £7,880 from the Hamilton Road arcade between August 20 and October 21 last year.

John Hughes, representing Elphick, said: “It’s clear from speaking to Mr Elphick that he was not aware just how much he was taking. He accepts his gambling habit was out of control. As often with people who have a gambling habit they lose sight of the money they are taking.

“What he says is he started gambling during his breaks whilst working there never having had a gambling habit before.

“He won a very large amount of money on one occasion - £500 – and that spurred him on in the belief that he would be able to get a lot of money from gambling.”

However, soon Elphick was losing money. He began to fund his gambling by stealing from the arcade and then took more in the hope of repaying the original amounts he had stolen.

Mr Hughes said: “It became an obsession to play the machines in the hope of winning the money back. He believed he would make sufficient money to put the money back, but the addiction had got a firm hold.

“What the whole affair has done is bring about an abrupt halt to his gambling.”

Earlier prosecutor Anita Addison had told the court the owners of Arcadian Charlie and Jonny Manning had nearly closed the business down due to a downturn in the profits before they realised what Elphick was doing. Had they done so it would have meant the loss of three jobs.

Both men had trusted Elphick implicitly to work in the arcade which has 17 machines, four of which pay £500 jackpots.

When CCTV was checked last October Elphick was seen to open a machine’s note acceptor, take cash out, and pocket it, magistrates were told.

Ms Addison said after Elphick took money from the arcade he would go to Corals and Ladbrokes to gamble it.

A probation officer who compiled a Elphick’s pre-sentence report said: “He described it as a roller coaster where he just got in too deep.”

After Elphick was sentenced to prison Jonny Manning said: “It seems like a firm decision.

“We have inherited a responsibility to continue running a 70-year-old family business and we do rely on our staff to be trustworthy. Unfortunately Paul made decisions otherwise, and his actions jeopardised the stability of our business and the jobs of our team.

“I hope he benefits long-term by being made responsible for his actions.”

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5 comments

  • personally I don't think he should have been sent to prison. work in the community would have done . so the fruit machine owners got robbed , how strange because they been robbing people for centuries

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    Lee mundy

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • Terrible decision to imprison the Eminem-lookalike. maybe that was criminal! The only reason he went to jail was because he worked for the arcade... I thought it was rather poetic justice for the business and the state of our towns these days... by working at the arcade he developed an gambling addiction... and the money was all filtered to betting shops... what was most disgusting is Jonny Mannings attitude. His business like Ladbrokes etc is make and break on people gaining gambling addictions - not the majority who do small bets here and there - you think being in such an industry he would have more of an understanding, similar to a publican understanding about alcoholism. In fact, I am fairly confident it would be a condition of his entertainment licence. Something which got me is, despite his business suffering they seemed not to notice £8000 missing over 2 months (or more to the point, no control over their income). Perhaps they should employ someone in security!

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • So he gets a prison sentence....fair enough. But in yesterday's news someone convicted of their 44th disqualified driving offence escapes prison. Crazy..

    Report this comment

    Robotix

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • paul e...my point was more about the leniency shown to a multiple repeat offender and the apparent nonsense regarding sentencing.

    Report this comment

    Robotix

    Friday, April 11, 2014

  • That sum is not much more than an MP was recently forced to pay back for overclaiming on expenses. Their punishment was simply to say sorry, through gritted teeth. Let's leave it at that.

    Report this comment

    paul e.

    Friday, April 11, 2014

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