Gambling addict spared jail

A FRUIT machine addict who paid a newsagent with cheques despite having no money in her account is under a suspended prison sentence today.Vikki Newton, of Maidenhall Approach, Ipswich, walked away with more than £200 of goods from a shop in Chantry after fooling staff into thinking she could afford to pay.

A FRUIT machine addict who paid a newsagent with cheques despite having no money in her account is under a suspended prison sentence today.

Vikki Newton, of Maidenhall Approach, Ipswich, walked away with more than £200 of goods from a shop in Chantry after fooling staff into thinking she could afford to pay.

Newton sold the items for cash to use in fruit machines but now faces a curfew order, compensation bill and suspended prison sentence.

The 26-year-old appeared at South East Ipswich Magistrates' Court and pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining property by deception in February and failing to surrender to custody.

The court heard how on two occasions she went into the newsagents, struck up conversation with a shop assistant and used cheques to pay for items, including dozens of cigarettes.

On a third occasion the assistant confronted her and said the cheques had been bouncing at the bank. She said she was going outside to get the cash but when she left the shop she never returned.

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When interviewed by police she said she knew there was no money in the account but saw it as an opportunity to make money to get cash to spend on her habit

Neil Saunders, mitigating, said: “Her story paints a very sad picture. She's in a relationship with fruit machines which is a very lonely life. She doesn't want to go to prison.”

Magistrates gave Newton an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and a curfew order for the deception offences. The order means she must where an electronic tag and stay at home between 1pm and 11pm for two months.

For failing to surrender to custody, Newton was given a one week prison sentence, also suspended for 12 months.

She was also ordered to pay the newsagents £328 compensation.

N Do you think the gambling laws are too lenient ? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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