A FRAUDSTER who stole his father’s chequebook to fund his spiralling gambling habit has been handed a suspended jail term.

Jason Malin, of Bath Road, Worcester, admitted defrauding Lloyds TSB of £2,265 and cashing three stolen cheques to fund his addiction.

He appeared before the city’s magistrates for sentencing.

Malin already had a gambling problem when he lost his job as a professional driver following a dangerous driving conviction in May 2007.

To fund his habit he took the chequebook between Tuesday, April 10, and Saturday, June 23, and forged his father’s signature before cashing the cheques.

He admitted cashing an £80 cheque on Thursday, June 5, one for £40 on Thursday, March 22, and another for £40 on Thursday, March 15, all in 2007.

Sallie Hewitt, prosecuting, said: “The defendant’s father only became aware when he had a letter from the bank Lloyds stating he was overdrawn.”

His father’s suspicions immediately fell on Malin, who had stolen from him before but when confronted, the 40-year-old initially denied taking anything.

But when Malin’s father told him the bank branch’s CCTV, in The Cross, Worcester, had caught him cashing cheques, Malin admitted stealing and was arrested by police.

Mrs Hewitt explained Malin told officers he could forge his father’s signature since being a schoolboy and had hidden the thefts from his father by intercepting the bank’s earlier letters.

Mark Sheward, representing Malin, said his client had “fallen to desperation” after gambling losses but was now sorry for what he had done.

He added Malin’s father had not forgiven him but the pair were “rebuilding” their relationship.

Malin was given concurrent three-month jail terms suspended for 18 months with a 12-month supervision requirement.

He was ordered to pay £2,265 compensation to the bank and to attend an offender behaviour programme.