Couple broke into holiday park slot and vending machines

The IW Law Courts. Inset, file picture of s slot machine.
The IW Law Courts. Inset, file picture of s slot machine.

A COUPLE from the Isle of Wight who targeted vending and slot machines at Island holiday parks, were warned they faced the prospect of jail.

Leo Woodford, of Gunville Road, Carisbrooke, and his accomplice, Rose Thwaite, of Downsview, Sandown, jointly admitted the theft of £448.70 and going equipped for theft, at Rookley Country Park, on July 1 last year.

They also jointly admitted an additional charge of going equipped for theft at Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park, on July 11 last year.

At Rookley Country Park arcade, they had a carrier bag, which contained tools used to break into the machines.

Although it was not witnessed, they were caught on CCTV.

The next day, a check of the machines revealed a cash shortfall and cash boxes damaged, said Ann Smout, prosecuting, at the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court.

On July 11, staff at the Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park arcade, spotted the couple and suspected they committed the Rookley theft.

On their arrival, police found Thwaite with a large black bag with wheels, which contained lock picks, heavy duty magnets and a device labelled 'slot machine killer'.

"They were clearly the items used in carrying out the Rookley offences," said Mrs Smout.

When officers spoke with Woodford, 29, he initially gave a false name.

He confessed to the machine break-ins and said he had a gambling addiction — spending hundreds of pounds a week on it, including his entire unemployment benefit cheque.

Thwaite, 20, with no previous convictions, told officers she had the bag because she liked it.

Woodford last appeared in court for flouting a probation order, made in August last year, for a similar type of theft.

"The offences were planned and relatively sophisticated," Mrs Smout added.

For the couple, Barry Arnett said Woodford "had amassed large debts, had a drug and gambling habit, was unemployed and was stealing.

"She was infatuated with Woodford. She'd never been in trouble before and didn't have the strength of character to say she didn't want to get involved.

"Both are working. Woodford has sorted out his drug addictions and is a completely different person than the one who committed the offences."

However, magistrates said both passed the custody threshold and ordered reports on them, bailing them to reappear for sentencing at the same venue on August 9.