Devon

Scratch card gambling supermarket cleaner jailed in Exeter

A supermarket cleaner addicted to lottery scratch cards has been jailed for theft.

Hugh Burton, 50, stole thousands of cards in just five weeks from Sainsbury's in Exeter, Devon, Exeter Magistrates' Court was told

Burton, of Salters Road, Exeter, hid the cards under rubbish in his cleaning cart on his night shift.

He admitted five charges of theft and was sentenced to four months in jail.

The court heard the supermarket cleaner stole £15,000 worth of scratch cards to feed his gambling addiction.

Prosecutor Karen Ball said Devon and Cornwall Police found stolen and torn up scratch cards at Burton's home.

Defence solicitor Rob Jacobs said his client had a gambling problem and "temptation was placed in his way".

He said Burton did not even scratch all the cards.

"He put scratch cards in a dustbin and they were not even scratched off - he is thoroughly ashamed," Mr Jacobs said.

Mr Jacobs said Burton could potentially have made about £500 winnings from all the stolen tickets, but most were worthless.

District judge Paul Farmer said had Burton not been caught on CCTV carrying out the thefts, suspicion would have wrongly fallen on other members of staff.

Supermarket workers were required to be "square and honest" and Burton had brought suspicion upon fellow staff members, the judge added.

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