Updated: Monday, 6th July 2020 @ 9:45am

Jailed: Wigan betting shop boss who faked armed robbery in his own bookies to pay off secret gambling debt

Jailed: Wigan betting shop boss who faked armed robbery in his own bookies to pay off secret gambling debt

| By Jon Harris

A Wigan betting shop boss has been jailed after admitting he faked an armed robbery at his own bookies after he got himself thousands of pounds into debt – due to a secret gambling addiction.

Karl Swift, 25, pretended he had been robbed at knifepoint at a William Hill bookmakers where he worked after gambling £2,084 away at a casino.

But CCTV footage was examined and showed Swift alone in the betting shop and bending down behind the counter to switch off the security cameras.

Swift later claimed he made up the raid to cover for the fact he had come up with scam to steal money from the till by placing 'imaginary bets'.

He said he was 'desperate financial straits' and had only become addicted to gambling after starting work in the betting industry four years earlier.

At Liverpool Crown Court Swift, from Orrell, near Wigan, pleaded guilty to theft, fraud and attempting to pervert the course of justice and was jailed for 12 months.

He has been attending counselling sessions Gamblers Anonymous.

Police were called in last September after duty manager Swift falsely claimed that he had been held up at knifepoint just after he arrived at the William Hill bookie’s in Goose Green, Wigan.

He said £5,744 was taken and claimed the 'raider' had turned off the shop’s CCTV system and broken into the safe.

But as well as the incriminating CCTV footage, Swift's boss saw an unusual sequence of 31 bets the previous day amounting to bets totalling £3,660.

Further inquiries revealed Swift himself had placed those bets - of only seven were successful - and the stakes had not been paid for.

In mitigation defence lawyer Martyn Walsh said Swift was described as ''good worker'' but had lost £2,084 in the casino. He placed the 'imaginary' bets to cover his tracks when taking the money to pay his debts.

Mr Walsh added: “He was a very desperate man who had reached the end of the road.”

But the judge, Mr Recorder Roderick Carus, QC, told him: ''These were serious offences and you were in a position of trust. You have lost your reputation, your job and now your liberty.''

Image courtesy of Gene Hunt via Flickr, with thanks.

Story via Cavendish Press.