Son-in-law stole £10k to fund his gambling

A gambler who stole more than £10,000 from his mother-in-law to fund his addiction, avoided jail with an alternative sentence of 160 hours’ community service.

Twenty-eight-year-old Gary Gillies stole his mother-in-law’s bank card from a house in Wilton Hill, last December, and over a month used it to steal £10,390 at ATMs throughout Scotland.

It was a transaction made while his mother-in-law was in hospital which aroused suspicion.

Gillies, of William Booth Place, St Ninians, Stirling, virtually emptied her account – leaving a balance of £2.99 – after regularly withdrawing sums of £200-£300.

Jedburgh Sheriff Court heard how Gillies’ crime had led to the breakdown of his marriage.

His mother-in-law has been compensated for her loss by the bank.

Procurator fiscal Morag McLintock said the accused’s mother-in-law “had concerns” when she received a statement showing her account some £10,000 short.

She was due to go into hospital and after being discharged contacted the bank when she found her account further reduced.

“A transaction had taken place while she was in hospital and a police investigation led to the accused, who attended at Stirling Police Station and confessed,” explained Ms McLintock.

“He said he had a bad gambling addiction and withdrew £200 or £300 on each occasion until he almost emptied the account, which had £2.99 left in it.”

Gillies told officers: “It was wrong and I am trying to put everything right.”

Solicitor Rory Bannerman, defending, said his client’s relationship had suffered because of his offending.

“He has broken down his family because of this criminal conduct although it is to their credit that he still has the support of his estranged wife and her family, which he appreciates he doesn’t deserve, given what he did.

“During a month he went through £10,000 ensuring that he had money to gamble with,” continued Mr Bannerman.

“It was a vicious circle, as he kept telling himself that if he kept taking it, he would win enough money to pay it back.”

Mr Bannerman said the bank had repaid the victim for her loss.

He said Gillies, who works for a landscape gardener, had sought help for his gambling addiction.

He admitted stealing a bank card from a house in Wilton Hill between December 1-31, 2010, and using it to steal £10,390 at automatic teller machines in Hawick and elsewhere in Scotland, between December 11, 2010 and January 10, 2011.

Sheriff Donald Corke described the offence as a gross breach of trust which could easily have seen Gillies jailed.