The two vandals who smashed up some fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and television screens in a Ladbrokes betting shop in Cheltenham were released yesterday, with the judge imposing 18-month community orders for both of them. The 27-year-old Aaron Cawley and the 31-year-old John Dymock both confessed that they took part in the criminal act on December 10th 2016.
The two defendants destroyed a few TV and FOBTs screens, with the act being caught on a closed-circuit television (CCTV).
Under the judge’s ruling, Aaron Cawley would have to complete 250 hours of unpaid work. The gambling addict, who is also known as an infamous football hooligan, would also have to attend eleven rehabilitation activity sessions as well as a 30-day thinking skills programme. John Dymock, on the other hand, would have to do 180 hours of unpaid work and attend 15 rehabilitation activity sessions aimed at helping him deal with his problem gambling behaviour.
As explained by Prosecutor Charley Pattison, the betting outlet needed to close for two days in order to repair the damage inflicted by the vandals, with its losses estimated at a total of £23,000. Regardless of the fact that the damage done by the vandals was large, no compensation was awarded to Ladbrokes, the owner of the attacked Cheltenham betting shop, with the judge explaining that the men were unable to pay.
As Casino Guardian reported yesterday, the judge Ian Lawrie QC has shared his belief that the two men were gambling addicts, considering their actions. Now, it became clear that before the attack on December 10th, they had asked the betting outlet’s manager to take advantage of so-called self-exclusion option in order for them to stay away from gambling activities. However, after the manager explained that photos of them would be needed to fill in the forms, the two men attacked the machines.
At the time when the decision of the court was announced, the judge once again described them as individuals shackled to gambling addiction and shared doubts that sending them to jail would help in their case.
They Smash the Place after Unsuccessful Self-Exclusion
As mentioned above, the two men’s act was caught on CCTV, which the footage of the incident being played by the prosecutor at the time of the hearing.
Dymock was the one to pick up a chair first and try smashing up a betting machine first. Then, he attacked the video wall with another chair. At this point, Cawley joined him in, making an attempt to pull TV screens from the wall.
According to Adam Hurley, the shop manager, the two men entered the betting outlet at 6:30 PM. He said that he already knew them, as they had previously asked to fill in the self-exclusion forms in order to stop gambling at the premises. Half an hour after they got in the shop, the two men approached the manager and asked him about the self-exclusion process. He explained that they would have to present passport-sized photos in order for the procedure to go on further and then, half an hour later, the couple once again approached him, asking whether he would exclude them in case they smashed the place up.
Hurley once again answered that they would need the photos for the self-exclusion process and then the began smashing up the place. As explained by the prosecutor, a total of 12 screens on the video walls were broken, with another screen being ripped from the wall by Cawley, who also pushed a coffee machine over.
At this point, the betting shop manager pushed the panic button. He, however, explained at the court hearing that he did not felt that the violence was addressed to him but shared that was the first time for him to deal with such a serious incident.
Both defendants had pretty extensive records, according to the prosecutor. Dymock had 39 previous convictions for a total of 112 offences, while Cawley had 28 convictions for 50 offences. Now, both of them had been successfully self-excluded from gambling in betting shops.