Gambling addict who stole £70k from mother is spared jail

'I've caused nothing but stress': Andrew Hatcher leaving the court
'I've caused nothing but stress': Andrew Hatcher leaving the court

A compulsive gambler who fleeced his mother’s bank account to the tune of £70,000 has avoided jail.

Andrew Hatcher, 34, a programme manager at Plumpton College, appeared before magistrates charged with theft over the course of three months.

The court heard how the confessed gambling addict’s mother has since forgiven him.

Defending, Simon Holmes told magistrates: “He remains on good terms with his mother. If it were not for his admission he made at the police station, he would not be here now.”

Hatcher admitted the theft in front of magistrates.

Between May and August, the college lecturer withdrew £70,096 through a number of large transactions to fund his online gambling addiction.

Once the theft was discovered, Hatcher was interviewed by police, where he admitted his crime.

His mother offered no victim impact statement and the court heard she and her son continue to live together.

Mr Holmes told Maidstone Magistrates’ Court his client was “reaching out to counsellors”.

Hatcher, of Holtye Crescent, Maidstone, told the court: “I wish I could turn back time, it was stupid. I’ve caused nothing but stress. I’m lucky it hasn’t affected my relationship with my mother.”

The agriculture lecturer added a prison sentence would “bring his world crashing down”.

Magistrates gave a Hatcher a 180-day prison sentence, suspended for two years.

As part of sentencing Hatcher, who has no previous convictions, was given a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement under which he must receive counselling, attend meetings to help him cope with his gambling problem and money management.

He was told: “Your previous good character has to come in at some point in your life, today is that day.”

Hatcher, is repaying the funds via £400 a month order to the bank.

The payments mean it could take at least 14-and-a-half years until his debt is fully paid.

He must also pay £115 to his victim along with £85 to the court, which will be paid at a rate of £50 per month.