Gambling betting shop manager jailed

Karl Swift
Karl Swift
Share this article

A WIGAN betting shop manager pretended he had been robbed at knifepoint to hide the thousands of pounds he had gambled away.

Karl Swift, who ironically had only become addicted to gambling after starting work there, had taken just over £2,000 and lost it at a casino.

Swift, who was already in desperate financial straits, decided to hide his tracks and the next morning staged a fake robbery.

The duty manager claimed that he had been held up at knifepoint just after he arrived at the William Hill bookie’s in Goose Green on September 6 last year and £5,744 taken from the safe.

And he alleged that the raider had turned off the shop’s CCTV system and broken into the safe.

But when the CCTV footage was examined it showed Swift alone and bending down behind the counter to switch off the machine.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that as well as the CCTV footage his boss saw an unusual sequence of 31 bets the previous day amounting to bets totalling £3,660.

It was realised that Swift had placed those bets, only seven of which were successful, and had never paid over the stakes for them, said Richard Archer.

“Investigations by the police into the robbery showed it was a complete fabrication. He said £5,000 had been taken to cover the money he had taken and the money in the bets.”

The 25-year-old, of Jubilee Avenue, Orrell, pleaded guilty to theft, fraud and attempting to pervert the course of justice and was jailed for 12 months.

Martyn Walsh, defending, said that Swift, who has no previous convictions, had lost the £2,084 in the casino and placed the “imaginary bets. He was a very desperate man who had reached the end of the road.”

Swift, who had worked at the shop for four years and was described as a good worker, has since taken steps to address his gambling addiction and has been attending Gamblers Anonymous.

Sentencing him the judge, Recorder Roderick Carus, QC, said that they were serious offences and he had been in a position of trust. “You have lost your reputation, your job and now your liberty.”