Stole £4,200 to pay loan shark

Cash
Cash

While working in a bookmaker’s a 27-year-old man with a gambling addiction stole

over £4,000 because he was in trouble with a loan shark, a court has heard.

Stefan Hughes, of Selshion Grove, Portadown, admitted two offences at a previous court and the case was then adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

Hughes pleaded guilty to stealing approximately £4,200 belonging to Malachy McCartan on August 5 last year and dishonestly placing bets to the value of £299.50 between August 5 and August 16 last year.

No details of the background to the case were outlined at last Friday’s hearing at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Deputy District Judge Peter Magill said this was basically a theft by an employee who was working in a bookmaker’s.

He said the pre-sentence report indicated that the defendant had been in trouble with a loan shark and owed him money.

A barrister representing Hughes said he was now working as a factory operator and was no longer handling money.

He added that given his gambling addiction probation was recommended in the report and Hughes was already working with Gamblers’ Anonymous.

Judge Magill said that normally when it was theft by an employee from an employer you were talking about imprisonment and often it was straight to custody.

But, he added, he was not going to do that because he wanted the money to be paid back.

He also said that the defendant had met the matter fair and square.

The judge put Hughes on probation for two years with the conditions that he undergoes counselling for his gambling issues and participates in any programmes directed by his probation officer.

He also gave the defendant up to two years to pay back £4,499.50 in instalments of £100 per week.