Internet gambling addict Bryan Benjafield was jailed for five years yesterday after stealing more than £1 million from his bosses and blowing the cash on betting sprees.
The book-keeper earned £16,000 a year but spent up to £17,000 every day on internet poker games, on-line casinos, races and sports of every kind.
The 23-year-old gambler stole the money from under the noses of his bosses in the open plan offices at construction company Charminster Ltd, in Dorchester, Dorset, while working in their payroll department.
He transferred the money into his accounts electronically, by cash withdrawals and he wrote cheques to himself between January 1 2004 and October 28 2005.
He then gambled the entire sum, totalling £1,047,550 - around a tenth of the firm's annual turnover - through Ladbrokes and Skybet and now has no money left in his accounts with them.
The company was forced into administration as a result with £742,242 debt and three staff were laid off.
Benjafield admitted obtaining a money transfer by deception, two charges of theft, transfer of criminal property and asked for a further count of handling a money transfer by deception to be taken into account.
Jailing Benjafield at Dorchester Crown Court, in Dorset, Recorder Andrew Langdon said: "It says something of the power or the addiction of gambling that despite the low rate of return on your mindless betting you carried on despite the obvious consequences.
"The ease with which a desperate man addicted to gambling can spend such enormous sums is bluntly staggering."
He added: "The internet or online gambling, has made it much easier, regrettably, for enormous sums to be spent unthinkingly."
He also made a nominal confiscation order of £1.
Benjafield is seeking help for his addiction at Gamblers Anonymous.