Gambling addict fleeced WH Smith Post Office out of £3,606

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A gambling addict fleeced the Post Office at a WH Smith’s store out of over £3,600 while he was working there as a counter service adviser.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Thursday, May 4, how Barry Shaw, 46, of Hall View, Chesterfield, stole £2,000 from the Post Office at WH Smith’s on Low Pavement, Chesterfield, and conned them out of an additional £1,606.89 after he had accumulated £20,000 in gambling debts.

Prosecuting solicitor Sarah Haslam said: “The defendant was employed by the Post Office at WH Smith’s as a counter service adviser and incurred £20,000 of debt from gambling and was addicted to high stake machines at bookmakers.

“While he was working at WH Smith’s he stole £2,000 and took the cash out of the till making a transaction from his till to another till to hide it.”

Further enquiries were made, according to Ms Haslam, and WH Smith also discovered that Shaw had committed three counts of fraud accumulating in an additional £1,606.89.

Shaw told police he had heavy debts and loans linked to a gambling addiction and he confirmed he had taken cash from a till on December 30, 2016, and spent the money on more gambling.

He also admitted committing fraud three times during December, 2016, by making refunds on false stamp money which did not exist so he could pocket the cash.

Shaw, who has a caution for stealing £20 from former employers B&Q in 2011, pleaded guilty to the theft and three counts of fraud concerning the Post Office at WH Smith’s.

Defence solicitor Julie Page said: “He’s got a significant problem with gambling and he cannot say when it started and it has grown over time and he has amassed considerable debt.”

Ms Page added that the defendant disappeared when the WH Smith offences came to light and spent five days sleeping rough before he was found.

She explained that while he was missing he developed ulcers on his feet and has been left using crutches and struggling with his mobility.

Magistrates sentenced Shaw to six weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with a ten day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs.