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Gorleston gambler stole from employers

PUBLISHED: 14:32 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 12:11 03 July 2010

A manager of a WH Smith store, who stole more than £11,000 to satisfy his gambling addiction, has escaped an immediate prison sentence.

John Overall, 50, of Emmanuel Avenue, Gorleston, disappeared after taking money from the safe at the shop premises in London Road North, Lowestoft.

A manager of a WH Smith store, who stole more than £11,000 to satisfy his gambling addiction, has escaped an immediate prison sentence.

John Overall, 50, of Emmanuel Avenue, Gorleston, disappeared after taking money from the safe at the shop premises in London Road North, Lowestoft.

He fled to Blackpool where he gambled and lost £6,000 of the stolen money, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said that of the £11,798 stolen, some money had been recovered by the police from his winnings and gambling slips - leaving an outstanding amount of £8,547.

He said that Overall had left the WH Smith premises where he was manager at 5.45pm on September 10 and for a while had disappeared.

He had been due to go on holiday the following day and should have met with the store supervisor to hand over the keys to the shop and the safe, but this meeting did not take place.

The store supervisor was unable to get into the safe and when a locksmith was called in it was discovered that money was missing.

Overall, admitted theft and was given a 36-week prison sentence suspended for two years when he appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday. He was also told to pay £8,547 compensation and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work in the community.

Judge Peter De Mille said the theft involved a “grave” breach of trust, but was impressed at the efforts the defendant had taken to tackle his long standing gambling problem and the fact that he had handed himself into the police.

Samantha Leigh, for Overall, said her client had had a 30-year addiction, but had sought help and had not gambled for 35 days, which was quite an achievement for him.

He also wanted to pay back the money he had stolen to his employers, she added.


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