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Slot machine raider jailed for stealing coins from pubs

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A convicted gambling machine raider has been jailed for 18 months after stealing coins from pubs in Leicester and Southampton and a snooker club in Watford.

Thomas Wheatcroft (31) was jailed at Oxford Crown Court in October 2010 for three years and four months for using electronic devices to extract cash from machines all over the country.

He was released on licence but, in July, was doing the same at Riley's Snooker Club, in Watford, the Salisbury Arms, in Southampton, and The Goose, in Leicester.

Last week at St Albans Crown Court, Wheatcroft, of no fixed address, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to three counts of theft.

Prosecutor Robin Miric said: "He was involved in taking money from gambling machines at licensed premises. One of the men involved would distract the licensee and the money would fall into the tray. A towel would be placed in the machine's tray so it would be a soft drop – with no noise being made."

In all, the police recovered £1,067 from Wheatcroft.

Defence barrister Frederick Hookway said Wheatcroft had been recalled to prison from the previous sentence.

Judge John Plumstead ordered £355.66 be paid in compensation to each of the three victims.

He told Wheatcroft: "The people who have these machines rely on them to support their businesses. Unless you change you will spend longer behind bars."


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