A ‘GAMBLING addict’ who stole from his brother- in- law’s vaping business has escaped a custodial sentence from Skipton magistrates.

Bobby Baker, 41, admitted to four counts of fraud by false representation and one of theft at court last week, all connected to Van Dyke Vapes in Water Street, Skipton.

Magistrates told Baker, of Pinder House, Keighley Road, Skipton, that he had committed very serious offences aggravated by him being in a position of trust with customers of the business.

They said the offences were serious enough for him to be sent to prison, but instead he would be subject to a community order including a 12 week curfew.

On November 13 last year, Baker stole £325, a Macbook Pro and vape items of unknown value from the business owned by Jamie Van Dyke, the court was told.

He then went on to carry out four counts of fraud by false representation by telling customers that the banking details for the business had changed, and providing his own details, making himself almost £100. Some were carried out while he was on bail, awaiting trial after denying the theft charge, the court was told.

On November 7, he acquired £21.50; on December 1, £21; on December 16, £25 and on December 22, a further £25.

The court heard that there had been ‘a number of instances’ but that Mr Van Dyke had let them go, and then Baker had gone missing. He had later been filmed on the shop’s security system, letting himself in before turning the CCTV cameras off.

Keith Blackwell, in mitigation, said Baker had paid back the money and it was clear that the relationship between him and his brother in law was not completely at an end. Baker had got himself into trouble with illicit drugs and when he had managed to get off them, he had fallen into a gambling addiction.

He also had a problem with one of his legs which was badly swollen because of his previous drug use, said Mr Blackwell.

“He tells me he lost everything and is now starting to put his life back together,” said Mr Blackwell, who added he had sought help with his gambling and his mental health difficulties, and was now in secure accommodation.

Magistrates sentenced Baker to an 18 month community order. He will be fitted with an electronic tag and be curfewed to his home for 12 weeks between 7pm and 7am. He will also have to carry out up to 20 rehabilitation requirement days, pay costs of £85 and a surcharge of £95.


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