Alcoholic gambler in cash machine thefts

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AN ALCOHOLIC with a gambling problem stole thousands of pounds from his partner’s mother who has Alzheimer’s disease and cannot manage her own finances, Lincoln Crown Court heard.

Ross Douglas, 59, of Willingham Road, Market Rasen stole £3,520 from 76-year-old Iris Burke’s bank account after being entrusted with her PIN number.

The court heard how Douglas withdrew the money from cash machines over a five-month period between June and November last year before his partner Rosalind Rutherford discovered the cash was missing.

Recorder Keith Raynor told him: “For you to have stolen this old lady’s money was absolutely wicked. She looked to you for guidance and you have let her down miserably.”

Prosecuting, Chris Wells said: “The defendant took the card on several dates and withdrew cash.

“Ms Rutherford checked the balance in November and realised that the amount was lower than it should have been.

“He was an alcoholic and had a gambling problem.”

After confronting Douglas police were contacted and Douglas was arrested.

Mr Wells told the court: “The defendant admitted he spent the money. He made full and frank admissions and said he was sorry in his interview.”

The money was stolen between 20 June and 10 November 2011. Douglas was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and was ordered to pay £3,520 compensation with £150 costs.

Defending, Lloyd Edwards said: “Douglas suffers from poor health, including a degenerative spine problem and is currently on disability living allowance.

“He suffers from periods of depression and that appears to have led to times of excess drinking and gambling.”

The couple, who had been in a relationship for seven years, have now split up.