A SUPERMARKET worker has avoided jail after stealing almost £4,000 of Lotto scratchcards.
Thomas Halladay, (pictured), a father-of-one, swiped around 800 scratchcards from Sainsbury’s in Palmerston Road, Southsea, where he worked.
The theft came to light in April when a refuse worker alerted a PCSO to a bundle of used cards found near the shop.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard the cards were taken to the store and the manager confirmed they had been activated there. CCTV showed Halladay, of Queen Street, Portsea, was working on every occasion the cards were activated.
Martyn Booth, prosecuting, said: ‘Mr Halladay was quickly identified as being the main suspect. Police made inquires with other stores because Camelot has a record of where these cards are sold and activated.
‘From these inquiries it became perfectly clear this defendant was approaching the tills and handing over the winning cards.’
Sainsbury’s managed to pin down £3,800 worth of scratchcards that were stolen by Halladay, netting him £2,070 over five months.
Halladay has since been sacked by Sainsbury’s.
Mr Booth continued: ‘When he was arrested by police he was full and frank with them. He fully admitted his role in the enterprise. According to the police officer he showed genuine remorse.
‘He explained to them the reason for committing the offences was down to money problems and a gambling addiction. Sainsbury’s say they are a little surprised that he did not feel he could go to his manager because they operate an open-door policy.’
Halladay, who was not represented in court, admitted one count of theft. In his defence he said: ‘At first the gambling started off very small, just going to the casino after work, and it escalated from there.
‘After paying rent and bills I was spending £400 a month on the casino and gambling.
‘Then I saw an opportunity to get myself some money back in my pocket but in the wrong way.’
Halladay said he is receiving help from his partner and family to get over his gambling addiction and they have confiscated all of his credit and debit cards and taken control of his bank account.
Recorder Robert Linford sentenced Halladay to a two-year community order with a 12-month supervision requirement. He must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and compensate lottery operators Camelot £2,070. Halladay has already started paying Sainsbury’s back.