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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Gambling addict jailed over theft
A gambling addict who netted more than 100,000 worth of goods using stolen credit cards while on the run, has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Dilip Patel fled to Crawley, West Sussex, after leaving Newcastle upon Tyne with nearly 17,000 worth of mobile phones from a shop he managed.

Lewes Crown Court heard how he then got a job at the DIY store Homebase, where he obtained customers' credit details.

Patel, 40, committed the crimes to feed a gambling habit, the court heard.

Previous convictions

He used the credit card details to go on a spending spree, telephoning numerous mail order companies around the country to purchase expensive goods.

The court was told how he even had chocolates delivered to his boss, and paid off a colleague's loan for 3,700.

Patel, of Denchers Platt, Crawley, admitted obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, 10 counts of criminal deception and one of attempted criminal deception.

He also asked for 218 other offences to be taken into consideration, and had 32 previous convictions for dishonesty, Lewes Crown Court was told.

The court heard the fresh crimes amounted to 160,000 worth of phones and goods in total.

Sentencing, Judge Richard Hayward branded him "a thoroughly dishonest man who preys on the community with dishonesty whilst at large".

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