Gambling addict stole £24,000 from her mother
A daughter who became addicted to gambling on slot machines in a Norwich arcade stole £24,000 from the mother she was caring for, to fund her habit.
Heather Mole, 52, stole the cash from her 72-year-old mother who had a number of difficulties and was unable to manage her own bank account, Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday.
Chris Morgan, prosecuting, said the matter came to light when Barclays Bank contacted Mole's brother when the account became overdrawn.
It was then discovered that about £24,000 was missing from the account and Mole admitted she had a problem gambling on slot machines, spending about £30 to £40 a day.
She stole the cash from her mother's bank account over a 12-year period.
Mole, of Burnt House Road, Cantley, admitted theft of the cash and was jailed for eight months suspended for two years.
She was also made subject to a 12-month prohibition order which bans her from playing on slot machines or she will be in breach of her suspended sentence.
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Judge Stephen Holt told her: 'If you are found in any arcade, particularly the one in Norwich, putting money in the slot machines you will be in breach of your suspended sentence.'
He said that she had helped herself to a considerable amount of money but accepted that she had cared for her mother and there was no suggestion that she did not look after her well.
He added: 'It is a very sad day for you and your family.'
Michael Clare, for Mole, said that Mole would welcome the court order for her to keep away from slot machines.
He said Mole was of previous good character and worked as a full-time carer.
He said she did not accept that the amount she had taken was as much as £24,000.
A confiscation hearing to get some of the cash back from Mole was adjourned to a later date.
People who have a problem with gambling can get help from GamCare, which provides support, information and advice.
GamCare operates the national telephone and online helplines for anyone affected by a gambling problem and provides both face to face and online counselling, free to clients.
Adrian Scarfe, head consultant clinical training at GamCare, said the situation that Heather Mole found herself in was not uncommon.
He said: 'When gamblers get into problems, it becomes very much like a panic situation. In a gambler's mind, he or she can always win back the money lost.
'Also, when you get into this kind of desperate situation, the gambler does not necessarily know the amount of money that has been lost.'
For more on GamCare visit http://www.gamcare.org.uk/