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Betfred area boss stole thousands to feed gambling habit

PUBLISHED: 07:30 06 June 2019

The trial is due to take place at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

The trial is due to take place at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

A Suffolk-based area supervisor for Betfred bookmakers handed himself into the police after stealing more than £42,000 to fund his gambling addiction, a court heard.

A Suffolk-based area supervisor for Betfred bookmakers handed himself into the police after stealing more than £42,000 to fund his gambling addiction, a court heard.

Sentencing Michael Gateshill to a suspended prison sentence, Judge John Devaux said he had been a trusted employee with responsibility for transferring Betfred money from a number of racing venues and Foxhall Stadium in Ipswich.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that at one point during the period he was stealing money 47-year-old Gateshill had stalled his bosses, who were chasing him for £37,000, by pretending it was in a safe at Foxhall Stadium in an area he couldn't get to because of an asbestos problem.

Gateshill, 47, of Caravan Park, Lowestoft admitted stealing £42,500 from Betfred between June 1 2017 and October 6 2018.

He was given a 20 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work.

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He was also given a 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement

The court heard that in his role as area supervisor Gateshill was responsible for 50 Betfred shops and around 200 members of staff.

David Wilson for Gateshill said his client, who has no previous convictions, had a gambling addiction and was now receiving help.

He said his Gateshill had gone to a police station and admitted the theft after telling his family what he had done.

Mr Wilson said that Gateshill had gambled away £50,000 he had received in a divorce settlement and had also borrowed £24,000 from his family which he still owed.

He said the defendant had found himself in a "gambling black hole" which resulted in him continuing to steal money "in the mindset of someone addicted to gambling that he was one win away from putting everything right."

Mr Wilson said that when Gateshill realised he couldn't repay the money he had stolen he had contemplated ending his life but couldn't bring himself to do it because of the effect it would have on his two teenage daughters.

He said that Gateshill's father had described being relieved that he was attending his son's crown court hearing rather than an inquest.

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