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Betfred area boss returns to court for confiscation hearing after stealing £42,000

PUBLISHED: 10:42 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:56 21 November 2019

Michael Gateshill was responsible for 50 Betfred shops across Suffolk. PHOTO: Sarah Lucy Brown

Michael Gateshill was responsible for 50 Betfred shops across Suffolk. PHOTO: Sarah Lucy Brown

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A confiscation hearing for a Suffolk-based area supervisor for Betfred bookmakers who stole more than £42,000 to fund his gambling addiction has been adjourned.

Michael Gateshill, 47, of Caravan Park, Lowestoft, returned to Ipswich Crown Court for the hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act on Thursday, November 21.

In his role as area supervisor Gateshill was responsible for 50 Betfred shops and around 200 members of staff.

Gateshill was given a suspended prison sentence earlier this year after he admitted stealing £42,500 from Betfred between June 1 2017 and October 6 2018.

He was given a 20-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work. He was also given a 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

The hearing was adjourned until February 14 to allow Gateshill's pension entitlement to be assessed.

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Sentencing Gateshill in June, Judge John Devaux said he been a trusted employee with responsibility for transferring Betfred money from a number of racing venues and Foxhall Stadium in Ipswich.

The court heard that at one point during the period, Gateshill had stalled his bosses, who were chasing him for £37,000, by pretending it was in a safe at Foxhall Stadium in an area he couldn't get to because of an asbestos problem.

At the sentencing hearing David Wilson, mitigating, said his client had a gambling addiction.

He said his Gateshill had gone to a police station and admitted the theft after telling his family what he had done.

Mr Wilson said that Gateshill had gambled away £50,000 he had received in a divorce settlement and had also borrowed £24,000 from his family which he still owed.

He said the defendant had found himself in a "gambling black hole" which resulted in him continuing to steal money.

Mr Wilson said that when Gateshill realised he couldn't repay the money he had stolen he had contemplated ending his life but couldn't bring himself to do it because of the effect it would have on his two teenage daughters.

He said that Gateshill's father had described being relieved that he was attending his son's crown court hearing rather than an inquest.

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