Devon cashier's £50,000 gambling theft

A woman from Devon has been jailed for a year after admitting stealing nearly £50,000 from the company where she worked to fund her fruit machine addiction.

Tracey Spilsbury, 47, from Paignton, was employed as a cashier at the Dart Steam Railway Company.

Between April and September this year she stole £45,972 - 50% of the company's annual profit.

The mother of one was sentenced earlier at Exeter Crown Court.

Prosecutor Mark Barton said Ms Spilsbury's job at the railway involved taking all the money in from the cashiers and putting it in the safe.

When police arrested her they found just £150 in cash at her home.

She told them she had spent all the money on fruit machines, trying to win back what she had already taken.

Mr Barton said: "It had spiralled out of control.

"She spent none of it on her family or herself but fed it all into the fruit machines."

The court heard that Ms Spilsbury's gambling addiction was so bad that she was playing two gaming machines at the same time.

'Sad case'

Defence barrister Gareth Evans said: "The extent of her dishonesty took her by surprise. Nobody was aware of what she was doing and she was not spending that money in any other way.

"She never expected to get away with this and every time she went to work she expected the police to be there to arrest her."

Sentencing her Judge David Tyzack QC said: "This is a very sad case indeed.

"You wickedly helped yourself to the very substantial amount of money.

"The company can ill afford to lose such a large sum of money and there is no chance it will get any of the money back."

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