Punter went on £3k wrecking spree in betting shop after being told his time was up


Gambler Vincent Stonier damaged machines at a betting shop when he was asked to leave.

The 28-year-old had gambled away £280 on fixed odd betting terminals at William Hill, in Cheadle.

He became angry when he learned he would not have time to win his money back because his time in the shop was up – due to Covid restrictions.

Magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard he told staff he would ‘smash the place up’ if he had to leave – which he did when the machines were subsequently turned off.

Prosecutor Emma Thompson said: “A customer service manager in the store was monitoring the defendant’s time because Covid regulations stated they could only be in there for a certain amount of time.

“He was warned he had to leave in 10 minutes. He said he wouldn’t be leaving and he would get his money back or smash the place up.



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“After 15 minutes, the customer service manager disabled the machines. The defendant said, ‘Have you done that?’ He then proceeded to smash the place up in a temper.”

Stonier, of West Street, Leek, damaged a number of gaming machines and TVs in the shop, to the tune of £3,313. The business had to remain closed ‘for some time’ due to the damage.

The court heard when Stonier was arrested, he told police, ‘I’m a bad gambler. I didn’t mean to cause the damage. I imagine it’s going to be expensive.’


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He went on to plead guilty to causing criminal damage. The offence took place on May 1.

James Hulse, mitigating, said: “He had spent about £280, blissfully unaware that he only had 15 minutes in the shop. You get 15 minutes, twice a day.

“He was frustrated. He was told to go and leave his money there. This is not going to have a huge effect on William Hill, a business that made £1.3 billion in 2020.”

Mr Hulse said Stonier was medicated for paranoid schizophrenia and had been offered a job as a landscaper.

Magistrates handed Stonier a 12-month conditional discharge, meaning he will not be punished if he stays out of trouble for that period. However, he was ordered to pay £3,313.30 compensation for the damage, plus a £22 victim surcharge.

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