A JUDGE who spared a gambling addict jail after he stole thousands from an ex-employer to fund his habit told him: ‘It’s a pretty close shave.’
Grandad Robert Bond could have been sent to prison after he admitted defrauding his former employer of £23,133.
But the married delivery driver was instead given a suspended sentenced after getting help for his addiction.
Bond, who was employed as a coach driver, fleeced the now-defunct Greyhound Coaching over a three-year period.
When the firm stopped trading in September 2012 he failed to hand in a machine given to him by the firm for taking payments and making refunds.
Instead he kept hold of the machine and made hundreds of refunds to his own bank account to feed his addiction to gambling machines.
Bond, of Ensign Road, Gosport, admitted one count of fraud at Portsmouth Crown Court.
He was sentenced to nine months in jail suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £340 costs.
The court heard each refund Bond made to his bank account between May 17 2010 and August 22 last year ranged between about £10 and £30.
Matthew Jewell, prosecuting, said Bond explained during interviews with police and his former employer that he had taken the money due to his gambling addiction.
He said: ‘It seems he didn’t have any means of charging the machine so inevitably this would have stopped sooner or later when the battery ran out.’
Bond, who represented himself, said he has attended Gamblers Anonymous since September.
Asked by Recorder Nicholas Rowland what difference the sessions have made, he replied: ‘It’s made me realise what mistakes I’ve made and how silly I am. I can reap the benefits now. Obviously I’m still attending.’
Suspending his jail sentence, Recorder Rowland told Bond: ‘It’s a pretty close shave.’
He added: ‘Over two years you extracted £23,000 out from your employer.
‘Even when they went bust you kept the machine, so this was a long period of time, lots of transactions adding up to that sum of money.’