A pizza delivery driver ended up in court after he gambled away £250 of takings in one night.
Paul Durie, who has had a gambling problem for up to 20 years, poured the money into machines in a betting shop while on his rounds for Chicago Pizza, in Catcote Road, Hartlepool.
You are obviously remorseful about what you did and panicked.Christine Mulgrew
Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard he panicked when he started losing the money.
But magistrates were told that he squandered the lot when he continued gambling in a bid to win it back, and never returned to the shop.
Paula Sanderson, prosecuting, said: “The defendant had collected about £250.
“He was due to be paid £40 out of those takings leaving £210 owing to the shop, but he failed to return to the shop after the last delivery and took the money, which has never been recovered.”
He admitted the theft when police arrested him and said he wanted to pay it back.
Ms Sanderson added: “He said every time he was paid by the customers he spent it on gambling machines inside a betting shop.”
Durie, of Masefield Road, appeared in court on his 45th birthday.
He pleaded guilty to theft by an employee on August 8.
A probation officer said Durie, who is now working as a driver for a van hire firm, had an ongoing gambling problem for between 15 and 20 years.
She said he had panicked when he started losing the pizza takings and tried to win it back until it was all gone.
The probation officer said Durie was “mortified” at how much he had lost and was ashamed of his behaviour. The court heard it was his first offence.
Chairwoman of the magistrates, Christine Mulgrew said: “This offence is a breach of trust and it is considered to be a very serious offence.
“You are obviously remorseful about what you did and panicked.”
Durie was given a four-week curfew between 9.30pm and 8am and ordered to pay £210 compensation to Chicago Pizza, plus £85 prosecution costs and a £180 court charge.