Gambler stole Christmas cash

A FRUIT machine addict who stole almost £6,000 in Christmas club cash has been spared jail – and told to repay a fifth of the money she took.June Bagley, 57, stole hundreds of pounds a week from the fund, set up for members of Ipswich Borough Council's Civic Centre Social Club.

A FRUIT machine addict who stole almost £6,000 in Christmas club cash has been spared jail – and told to repay a fifth of the money she took.

June Bagley, 57, stole hundreds of pounds a week from the fund, set up for members of Ipswich Borough Council's Civic Centre Social Club.

She spent the money on everyday items and her addiction to playing fruit machines, magistrates in the town heard yesterday.

But, after hearing about Bagley's serious heart complaint and low income, they decided not to send her to prison or make her pay back the full amount, stolen between January and December last year.


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Bagley, of Kingsley Close, Ipswich, who admitted theft, was told to carry out 160 hours of community service and pay £1,200 compensation to the social club.

"We fully appreciate this is not the full amount – we are reducing it because you are not in a financial position to pay any more," said presiding magistrate John Horton.

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Helen Booth, prosecuting, said Bagley, who had worked at the social club, in Black Horse Lane, for 15 years, began by taking about £100 a week of the money, paid in by the Christmas club's 29 members.

"She spent all the money she collected, some of it on daily items and some of it on fruit machines. She was short of money and intended to pay it back, but it got out of hand," she said.

Bagley's thieving came to light when she was hospitalised with heart problems last December and the social club's secretary went into a building society to check the account.

He found the account was £5,796 short of the £11,125 that should have been paid in, the court heard.

Committee members held meetings to discuss which course of action to take, but eventually complained to police after rejecting her offer of paying the money back at a rate of £30 a month, with her daughter also paying £100 a month.

Charles Riddleston, mitigating, said Bagley, who has a history of heart problems and heart attacks, had admitted the thefts when she was confronted.

"She was very upset and said she would go to the police – she did not realise it was so much money," he said.

He added she had spent all the money and now had an income of £145 a fortnight, including incapacity benefit.

Mr Horton called the theft "a breach of trust" and ordered Bagley to pay the compensation at a rate of £30 a fortnight.

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