A GAMBLING addict who stole thousands of pounds worth of alcohol over a four-month period has been given a suspended prison sentence.

David Jackson, 30, of Waltwood Road, Llanmartin, Newport, was handed a four-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, at Newport Crown Court yesterday after previously pleading guilty to theft from his employer.

Nick Gedge, prosecuting, said Jackson stole between £3,800 and £5,700 of alcohol between June 1 and October 25 last year while working as a loader at Asda in Chepstow.

Mr Gedge said the defendant would steal on average between four and five bottles of alcohol a day, which he would sell for around £10 each.

An investigation started last October when Asda realised stock was going missing, the court heard.

CCTV footage showed Jackson acting suspiciously and making regular trips to his locker and car wearing a large jacket, the court heard.

When he was confronted by colleagues, five to six bottles of alcohol were found in his car, worth around £90 in total.

Jackson admitted he had been taking stock for four to five months and resigned the following day.

The defendant, who has no previous convictions, made full admissions to police.

Rosamund Rutter, mitigating, said Jackson started gambling from the age of around seven but had never previously resorted to criminal activity to fund the addiction.

Ms Rutter said the addiction has affected his relationship, family life and employment.

He currently has debts of around £20,000.

The court heard he has since found new, secure work and taken steps to rid himself of his gambling addiction.

His barrister added Jackson felt he had let his family and children down by what he had done.

Ms Rutter said: “Sometimes it takes someone reaching rock bottom to realise that they need to change and I would submit Mr Jackson is someone who has reached rock bottom and now wants to rid himself of his addiction.”

Ms Rutter said Jackson is “thoroughly ashamed” of his actions and wishes to repay Asda, where he worked for around five years. Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke sentenced Jackson to four months, suspended for 18 months. He must also carry out 200 hours community work and complete a rehabilitation course.