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Ipswich: Bailiff stole £4,500 to fund gambling addiction

PUBLISHED: 18:08 23 April 2012

Andrew Arthur

Andrew Arthur

Archant

A DISGRACED court bailiff has been spared jail after he stole nearly £4,500 from Her Majesty’s Court Service to fund his gambling addiction.

Andrew Arthur, of Richmond Road, Ipswich, was given a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, by South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court after admitting theft between June 6, 2011, and November 30, 2011.

The court heard Arthur – who had worked as a bailiff for 21 years – was ashamed of his behaviour and had paid back the £4,478.79 he siphoned off after collecting it from an offender.

Wayne Ablett, prosecuting, said an internal investigation began when the 44-year-old was accused by an offender of keeping the money he had given Arthur to pay outstanding amounts of cash.

When confronted, Arthur submitted his resignation and made a full admission to what he had done.

The court was told he took the cash because he had a gambling habit, which he is now seeking to conquer with professional help.

References were handed in to the court including one from Arthur’s current employer praising his integrity and honesty.

Ian Persaud, representing 44-year-old Arthur, said: “This addiction is really a very sad state of affairs. It has blighted what is otherwise an honest gentleman, who has fallen foul of that addiction.”

Sentencing Arthur, District Judge Celia Dawson told him: “This is an extreme breach of trust. You knew you were in a position of considerable authority and a representative of Her Majesty’s Court Service. Furthermore you disguised the theft in a sophisticated fashion.

“Your work required you to collect money from some of the most vulnerable members of the community. These people were in considerable debt. You caused them a great deal of anxiety and pressure.

“It is quite clear from references that you are an extremely hard-working and diligent worker. You acted in a way which does you credit, because you immediately co-operated with police and paid the money back.

“You acted in an uncharacteristic way because you were under considerable stress personally.”

In addition to his suspended sentence Arthur – who was supported by several family members in court – was given a community order to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay £85 costs.

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