Losing gambler caused damage at bookmakers

William Hill, Kirkgate
William Hill, Kirkgate

A gambling addict smashed up two betting shops in frustration over his heavy losses, a court heard.

Adel Shah Hazara, 31, damaged gaming machines and TVs at Coral’s and William Hill’s in the city centre because he believed betting shops were “thieves who caused him a loss, so he decided to cause them a loss”.

City magistrates heard how Hazara has had a severe gambling problem for two years and had lost £30,000 in March alone.

Prosecutor Diane Gomersall said he first struck at William Hill’s on Kirkgate on May 18 where he damaged two gaming machines and three TV screens after throwing stools at them.

He went on another wrecking spree at Coral’s on Westgate on June 1 where a gaming machine and a TV were broken.

Staff at Coral’s remembered the earlier incident at William Hill’s and after checking CCTV found it was the same man.

Hazara, of Aston House, Bradford, admitted two charges of criminal damage.

The court heard in a probation officer’s report how Hazara “decided to damage the property in lieu of the money he was owed. He didn’t believe they were victims because they are gambling shops and take money from people.”

Hazara told the court: “I damaged them because they made a lot of money off me. Because I got angry I smashed the machines, I didn’t mean to smash the machines.”

The court heard how he had been gambling for 12 years and estimated he had lost up £80,000. He lost £30,000 from an insurance payout by gambling in casinos and betting shops in March.

Magistrates sentenced Hazara to a community order with a 12-month supervision and 200-hour unpaid work requirements.

Barbara Phipps, presiding, said: “We can only advise you to contact Gamblers Anonymous to get yourself help with this addiction.”

Hazara must pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge. No compensation was awarded as magistrates felt it hadn’t been accounted for.