A betting shop worker who stole from his firm to pay off a gambling debt must pay back £1,000 in compensation, a court has heard.

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Christopher Walker, from Cadge Road, Earlham, took £1,500 from the safe at Betfred bookmakers in Dereham Road, Norwich.

The 29-year-old appeared before Norwich magistrates’ court yesterday and pleaded guilty to taking the money on February 2.

Denis King, prosecuting, said Walker was working as a cashier at the shop and owed someone £1,200 in a gambling debt.

Mr King said: “Colleagues at work described him coming into work on that day looking subdued.

“A member of staff checked the balances on the tills and the safe and found that £1,500 was missing.

“The defendant had left earlier that day, and had handed the money straight to the person he owed it to.

“In interview, he admitted fully what he had done. He knew it was wrong.”

The court heard that Walker had previous convictions for dishonesty going back 11 years, but his last conviction was in 2007 for a public order offence, and before that, in 2004, for making a false statement regarding social security payments, which he was fined for.

Rob Pollington, for Walker, said: “He panicked. He owed a very nasty person £1,200.

“He made a mistake which he will be paying for the next five years, as he will be unemployable because of this conviction.”

Dick Meadows, chairman of the bench, told Walker that thefts from employers were breaches of trust, and something they took very seriously.

Walker must pay £1,000 in compensation and a £60 victims surcharge. He was handed a 12-month community order with supervision and an alcohol specified requirement.

No order for costs was made.

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