Labour club steward stole takings to gamble

VENUE: James Martin worked at Deepdale Labour Club in Preston
VENUE: James Martin worked at Deepdale Labour Club in Preston
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The shamed steward of a social club has admitted stealing money to fund a gambling problem.

James William Martin, who worked at Deepdale Labour Club on Skeffington Road in Preston, has admitted plundering more than £3,200 from the club’s takings.

The 60-year-old, of Franklands Drive, Ribbleton, Preston, was well-known at the small club.

During an appearance at Preston Magistrates Court he admitted stealing cash over a period between November 30, 2013, and June 24, 2014.

It is understood near the end of 2013, the club had two new gaming machines installed with jackpot prizes of £500 and £250.

Martin used the club’s takings to start gambling on the two machines.

The offences took place after the social club had closed to punters.

It is understood that after almost seven months of offending after hours, Martin went to went to Preston police station on June 24 this year.

He confessed to stealing money from the club’s takings to use on the games machines.

An investigation was launched by Lancashire Police.

An audit by the club’s committee later showed the total amount missing from the club was £3,241.59.

No-one at the club, which is popular with bowlers, was available for comment.

But Deepdale Independent councillor, Terry Cartwright, said: “In this climate, where supermarkets are selling cheap booze, a lot of small social clubs are suffering, and Deepdale Labour Club is no exception.

“The club will be disappointed because they put their trust in a person and trusted him with a lot of money. That trust has been broken.

“I have spoken to him in passing and he always seemed pleasant, as you would expect someone in that position to be.”

Martin pleaded guilty to theft.

He is due to be sentenced next month at Preston Crown Court.

Det Sgt John Crichton, of Preston CID, who investigated the case, said: “The amount of money stolen is quite big for a small club.

“They trusted the worker and feel pretty upset at what he did.”