A BETFRED manager stole more than £8,500 from the Winton bookmakers to fuel his gambling and drinking bills.

Graham Leary pleaded guilty before Bournemouth Magistrates of stealing £8,806 out of the tills of the betting shop between August 3, 2013 and December 21, 2013, and also a second charge of fraud by abuse of position during the same period.

The 43-year-old, of Humber Road, Ferndown, started working for Betfred in 2012 and was promoted to the position of manager of the Winton bookmakers.

The court heard how Leary had been taking large amounts of cash from the till instead of paying it into the firm’s bank account Natwest.

He had also pocketed the money which should have been used to pay local newsagents – which amounted to £386 after three months.

The prosecutor outlined the methods used by Leary and said that he admitted stealing the money after an internal investigation but claimed he intended to pay it back.

A total of 75per cent of the stolen money was spent paying debts and 25per cent was spent on gambling and drinking.

In defence, Brendan Allen said: “Mr Leary was apologetic and showed remorse at his actions.

“He started taking the money and then paying it back when he had been paid but then it snowballed and in essence he was taking so much that his salary could not pay it back.”

After Betfred found out, Leary lost his job and Betfred withheld two months’ salary in order to retrieve the lost money.

Leary had continued to pay back the company after his dismissal and the court ordered that he pay the remaining £780 in compensation.

He was also handed a community order for 10 days and ordered to carry out 130 hours of unpaid work.