A bank worker who plundered more than £40,000 from the till to feed his gambling addiction has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

John Davies, of Catalina Court, Bowerhill, Melksham, siphoned the case from the small Bradford on Avon branch of the HSBC to fund his gambling addiction.

And the 25-year-old dad denied any wrongdoing only pleading guilty to what he had done on the day he was due to stand trial.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon crown court “Though it would have been tiresome to present it is in fact quite simple.”

He said Davies was the only full time cashier at the bank which had one other till used by a part time worker and a third which hadn’t been used for many years.

Each of the tills was run as if it were a cash account and should balance with the amount of cash in it.

But an audit in November 2008 found till three at the branch was running an overdraft of £42,240.

“What that means is in these circumstances there should have been physically sitting in that till cash to the value of £42,240. There is was not,” he said.

He said it was relatively straight forward to find how the money had gone and it was found it went in 36 inter till transfers.

All but one of those went to till one at the bank, which was used by Davies, while the other was signed off in a colleagues name to till two.

However she was not working at the time of the transaction and three minutes 23 seconds after the cash went it was paid into Davies’ credit card and another of his accounts.

Mr Meeke said none of the money has ever been recovered and must have left the branch by being physically removed.

When he was questioned by the police he accepted it was his handwriting on the transaction slips but could not explain.

Davies pleaded guilty to one charge of theft.

James Martin, defending, said his client had not come clean about what he had done because he had been hiding the reason for his deceit.

He said Davies was addicted to gambling at the time and had been keeping it from his family.

After he started to take the money he said he tried to chase his losses in a bid to get it back but instead found himself getting in deeper.

He said he was a man of previous good character who would find it hard to get work in the future.

Jailing him Recorder Richard Smith QC said “You have pleaded guilty to one charge of theft: a case of theft from employer.

“It is a genuine tragic example of theft as is so often the case in cases like this. You have ruined your own life and you have ruined those in part of those around you.”