Gambling addict blew his own bookie’s money

IPSWICH: A bookmaker’s clerk with a gambling addiction is beginning a jail term today after blowing nearly �6,000 of his employer’s money while taking it to the bank.

Ipswich Crown Court heard Paul Longland, of Duke Street, Ipswich, went on a betting bender at another bookmaker’s with the �5,850 that he was supposed to be banking for his employer Betfred.

Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said after losing the money in unsuccessful wagers on April 8 this year, Longland then placed �23,000 of bets at the shop where he worked in Carr Street, Ipswich.

The court heard there was an element of unreality in the 37-year-old compulsive gambler placing those bets, as even if they won the wagers would not have been honoured.

Longland was not allowed to bet in his own shop and furthermore the amounts involved would have required authorisation by telephone.

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The court heard that when police were called Longland made a full admission to an offence of theft and another of fraud by abuse of position.

Mr Sadd said: “He has a difficulty in terms of an addiction and found himself in a position where he found himself unable to resist.”

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As Roger Thomson, representing Longland, began his mitigation, Recorder Richard Sutton expressed his surprise that the betting shop did not take steps to discover if its employees had a gambling addiction before giving them a job.

Mr Thomson said Longland began gambling at the age of 14 or 15 and it became a problem when he was aged 19 or 20.

Mr Thomson added: “He clearly does have an addiction to gambling. My client took a job in a betting shop when he has got an addiction to gambling. He thought he could cope with it. He relapsed and did what he did on this particular day. He is deeply ashamed.”

Longland, a father-of-one whose partner is pregnant with their child, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment after admitting theft and fraud at a previous hearing.

n Has a member of your family been afflicted by an addiction? E-mail or write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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