Trusted repair man smashed up gaming machines and stole cash while drunk

Thomas Dodds at South Tyneside Magistrates Court
Thomas Dodds at South Tyneside Magistrates Court

A man trusted to carry out repairs to a South Tyneside pub smashed up gaming machines and stole hundreds of pounds while drunk, a court has heard.

Alcoholic Thomas Dodds, 49, told detectives he could remember nothing of what happened at the Mill Tavern, in Mill Lane, Hebburn, in which a pool table and door were also damaged.

But his actions were captured on CCTV – leaving pub boss Sinia Mohammed facing a bill for more than a thousand pounds, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told.

In a victim impact statement read out in court by prosecutor Lee Poppett, she said: “Thomas Dodds breached my trust. I feel upset and angered by his actions. His actions have affected me deeply.”

Magistrates heard Ms Mohammed befriended Dodds and gave him a key, so he could do repairs while the pub was closed pending being handed back to owner Punch Taverns.

Dodds, of Thames Road, Hebburn, went on a wrecking spree on Friday, October 27 last year.

He pleaded guilty to one charge each of criminal damage and theft.

Mr Poppett said: “Ms Mohammed became aware from Mr Dodds that damage had been done. He made her aware that someone had tried to gain entry at a door and that damage was also done to two gaming machines and a pool table.

“She checked the damage and he made his excuses and left. She checked the CCTV and it was shown that he was responsible.”

Both machines were licensed from a gaming company, meaning Ms Mohammed was personally responsible for them.

He said that, due to them not being covered on insurance, she has been left with a bill for £1,060.

Almost £400 was also removed from them, and the pool table’s coin slot was damaged, the court heard.

Dodds was arrested but during interview claimed he could remember nothing of his actions.

Mr Poppett added: “He accepted that he had been caught on CCTV. There is some remorse. He says that he was drunk and that he is an alcoholic.

Magistrates heard that Ms Mohammed was seeking compensation from Dodds.

The case was adjourned for reports until Friday, March 2, and Dodds was granted unconditional bail.