A former employee of the Braye Road Garage has narrowly avoided a prison sentence, after he was caught stealing scratch cards from the counter and cashing in the winning ones down the road at the Candy Shop.
Mathew Amy, 33, will now have to complete 120 hours of community service, or he'll face two months behind bars instead.
Amy worked at Braye Road garage, and was working a lot of shifts at the time he was stealing.
Between the 1 August and 19 September, Amy, the court heard, was struggling with a gambling addiction that he was too embarrassed to talk to anyone about. He was spending all of his disposable income on scratch cards, and was in his overdraft. So on the 1 August, he started to take the cards from the counter when he was working night shifts. He would scratch them, and then put the winners in his pocket or throw the losing cards in the staff bin.
But it took seven weeks from when Amy started to take the instant lottery tickets for his employer to notice something was awry.
In that time, the defendant admitted taking 75 lottery tickets - 45 on the day he was caught - which was valued at £443.93.
Because of the way the owner of the Braye Road Garage - where Amy had worked for two years - kept records of his stock, there was no way for him to know that the tickets were being stolen. It was only when staff at the Candy Shop on the Bridge got in touch with him to tell him Amy had recently claimed two big wins of £1,000, and had also had many other wins.
Advocate Sam Steel told the court that his client had those wins with tickets he had purchased with his own money, and only had smaller wins with the cards he had stolen.
But after he was tipped off, Amy's boss began a stock check, then, on the 19 September, he reviewed the CCTV of Amy's shift and saw he had stolen 45 tickets, and scratched all of them. The boss then found the tickets in the bin.
Judge Graeme McKerrell told Amy this was his first and only chance. If he failed to complete the CSO he would be going to prison.
Amy, Advocate Steel said, had been intending to talk to his boss about what he had been doing, but had not been able to do so when he was caught. He was also trying to work out a way to reimburse his boss at the time. When he was caught, Amy came clean, admitting he had been stealing the tickets for seven weeks and indicating to police how many he might have taken.
"You will not be surprised to hear sir that the house has won, Mr Amy is a net loser, and has lost count of his financial losses," Advocate Steel said, describing the stealing as part of an irresistible urge.
Since his offending, Amy has managed to get help regarding his gambling, and the court heard he is vigilant to ensure he does not relapse.
Judge Graeme McKerrell said it was always a serious crime when you breach the trust of your employer, but he was lenient toward Amy because of how cooperative he had been with law enforcement. He gave him 120 hours of community service as a direct alternative to two months in prison.
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