Bookie stole to meet drug debts

BETTING shop manager Dean Stubbs stole almost �7,000 from the bookies where he worked then gambled on it at a casino in the hope of winning much more to poay off drug debts, a court was told.

When he lost it all he fled to Panama, inspired by “Canoe Man” John Darwin, who faked his disappearance.

But Stubbs, 29, of Maude Road, Plaistow, realised he could not run away from his problems and flew back to Britain two weeks later. He was arrested at Heathrow Airport.

Jailing Stubbs for a year at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Judge John Lafferty said: “Prior to committing this offence you were a young man of good character.

“It was your good character that enabled you to obtain such a high position of trust.

“You were, therefore, in an ideal position, should you have chosen to do so, to steal from your employer and that’s what you did.”

Stubbs claimed he had fallen into debt due to drug addiction and had hoped to win big at the West End casino and pay back William Hill. But Judge Lafferty hit back: “I don’t accept that your drug addiction is in any way mitigation.

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“You are an intelligent young man and you could have sought treatment for your addiction, should you have chosen to do so. “You were involved in betting shops – you knew that the banker always wins. “You enjoyed gambling – that’s why you used the money in the way that you did.”

Stubbs struck on September 21 this year at the bookies in Whitechapel Road, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told. He took the day’s takings from the safe and was spotted counting them in the staff kitchen, the court heard. A duty manager returned the following day to find just a fraction of the money remaining.

Prosecutor Andrew Dickens said: “He noticed nothing untoward at all until the safe was opened and all that was in the safe was �74.63. “Mr Stubbs was not seen thereafter until he arrived at Heathrow Airport on October 7.

“He was initially held by customs. “When their enquiries were satisfied it was found that Mr Stubbs was wanted by the Metropolitan Police.” Stubbs told detectives how he had trousered the takings on September 21 before stuffing the cash into his rucksack and heading for the West End.

“He then went to a casino in Tottenham Court Road and gambled all the money,” said Mr Dickens. “He went to Heathrow and took a flight to Panama.”

Rebecca Helliwell, defending, said Stubbs acted out of desperation to repay drug debts. “He was able to fund his drugs misuse issues legitimately up until this offence,” said the barrister.

Miss Helliwell said Stubbs believed a big win at the casino would have solved his problems. “He had hoped to be able to gamble the money successfully to pay back his financial debt and pay back the money to William Hill,” said the barrister.

“Mr Stubbs lost the money in the casino in Tottenham Court Road and panicked. “He realised in central America that he couldn’t run away from his problems and he came back to the UK.” Stubbs, of Maud Road, Plaistow, admitted theft by employee.

Stubbs admitted stealing �6,925 from William Hill bookmakers in Whitechapel.