A GAMBLER tried to steal from the till of a betting shop before scuffling with the manager over the counter after he lost £50, a court heard.

John Bayliss, aged 41, repeatedly swore and shouted at Adrian Spencer because he thought the manager of Ladbrokes was fixing the fruit machines. He then handed himself in to a police officer.

Bayliss, appearing at Worcester Magistrates Court, admitted charges of using words or behaviour that could cause others to fear violence and harassment, alarm, or distress, and a charge of attempted theft.

Marie Watton, prosecuting, said Bayliss was in Ladbrokes, Worcester.

“He had been playing on the gambling machines and the shop manager noticed he was getting agitated as he seemed to be losing,” she said. “Bayliss said, ‘Stop fixing the machines or somebody is going to give you a slap’.”

Miss Watton said Bayliss, of Henwick Road, St John’s, Worcester, left the shop only to return later. He marched up to the manager, verbally abused and swore at him before threatening to give Mr Spencer “a good hiding”.

Miss Watton said Bayliss was told he was not going to be served any more so he approached another customer who refused to put a bet on for him.

“Bayliss got more and more angry and he leant over the counter pulling at the open till, reaching inside trying to grab some of the money,” said Miss Watton. “The manager quickly shut the till and grabbed hold of Bayliss and pulled him over the counter.”

She said the struggle soon ended and Bayliss left.

“It was reported to the police but Bayliss handed himself in to a police officer in the street,” she said.

In mitigation, Mark Lister said: “He’s a man who has had by his own admission a significant gambling problem. On that particular day he lost £50 and when you’re not working that’s a substantial amount of money.”

Mr Lister said his client had been made the subject of a community order with a supervision requirement for shoplifting some time after the betting shop incident.

Sentence was adjourned until Wednesday, September 23.