A ram­pant gambling habit

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Ms Fair­ley said en­quiries showed the fa­ther-of-two was plac­ing large-scale bets, in ex­cess of £20,000, dur­ing an 18-day pe­riod, prior to the fake rob­bery, with a loss of £2,500. She added it was ob­vi­ous that Calden had stolen the cash to off­set those losses.

The court heard that in De­cem­ber 2013, Calden stole £1,700 from a safe at South Cliff Golf Club, where he worked as a bar su­per­vi­sor.

He raided the safe dur­ing an­other gambling spree. Calden also de­nied that of­fence but was found guilty by a jury in Oc­to­ber 2014 and given a six­month sus­pended jail term. anal­y­sis showed no signs of a rob­bery at the shop.

Calden was duly ar­rested and charged with per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice. He ini­tially de­nied the of­fence but pleaded guilty a few weeks be­fore trial.

Ms Fair­ley said the cut to Calden’s head must have been self-in­flicted as part of his out­ra­geous ruse.

He di­alled 999 at about 10.40am on June 30 last year “to re­port there had been a knife­point rob­bery in the shop”.

Po­lice im­me­di­ately launched a high-cost op­er­a­tion us­ing more than 70 hours of po­lice re­sources in­clud­ing firearms of­fi­cers who were called in from Stokesley.

The e-cig com­pany had “suf­fered very sub­stan­tially” due to the theft and had to close one of its other stores in Scar­bor­ough.

His lawyer Keith White­house said Calden – who has lat­terly been work­ing for Land Rover – had been fight­ing his ad­dic­tion for a long time and is get­ting help from a gam­bling­sup­port group, but was “rob­bing Peter to pay Paul”.

Judge Alis­tair Mac­don­ald QC blasted Calden for wast­ing hard-pressed po­lice re­sources and caus­ing a ma­jor scare in a town packed with shop­pers and tourists at peak sea­son.

Calden was jailed for 15 months on Fri­day.

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