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Gambling addict stole from work mates

gambling addictA MILFORD HAVEN woman appeared in Haverfordwest Magistrates Court on Wednesday to face five charges of theft.

Alison Marie Price, aged 44, of Gleeblands, Hakin, pleaded guilty to all five charges.

Prosecuting, Nicholas Newton said: “The offences occurred between April and September 2013 and relate to Price’s employment. It was theft of money from other employees in the work place. One of the victims, Nicky Davies, had left her coat hanging in the staff room and had £40 stolen from her coat pocket.

“Previous thefts resulted in a hidden camera being installed in the staff room. Footage was viewed, which showed Price taking the money. Upon being arrested, Price pleaded guilty and admitted to further offences of theft on different occasions.

“Previous convictions have been of a dishonest nature, such as false representation under fraud and had received a suspended custodial sentence for this in 2010”.

Defence solicitor, Michael Kelleher said: “Please bear in mind her early guilty plea and her full and frank admissions. The first offence is on camera, though the others have not been proved. She gave full and frank admissions to additional charges.

“Price had become addicted to gambling and had taken out loans to gamble. She has attended gamblers anonymous and is trying to control it. She currently has debts of what she estimates to be around £15,000. This was simply an indication of how desperate she was”.

Probation officer, Julie Norman said: “Until 2010, Price led a normal life. She developed a health issue and had to be signed off sick. While she was out of work, she started to gamble online. She says it was not unusual to spend £1000 a day. She no longer gambles and hasn’t gambled in a long time. She is unable to pay the debt off as her outgoings were more than her income. She could not see another way out other than to steal some money.

“She currently has depression and is signed off sick because of it. She is also scared that she’ll be sent into custody today”.

The magistrates told Price: “We learn about addiction problems via media every day. We have looked at your record and it is atrocious. We are not sending you to prison, but are granting a 12 months suspended custodial sentence for 26 weeks. We are also granting a supervision order and an activity requirement of thinking skills”.

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Price was also fined a total of £265, which included compensation for the victims, costs and victim surcharge.