Dad’s addiction left family £500k debt but they didn’t know until he was jailed – The News


 The family of a respected accountant was torn apart after his secret gambling addiction left them half-a-million in debt  David Bradford, 63, ran up debts of £500,000 as he sank deeper into his online gambling and fruit machine habit  Father-of-three David turned to crime in a bid to cover his losses and stole £53,000 from his employers to help balance the books  And when his fraud came to light he tried to hide it from his family – but was charged and jailed for two years  Now – with the help of his son Adam – David has turned his life around and the two have spearheaded a campaign to help clean up the industry  The father and son’s work has led to a decrease in the maximum stake for fixed odds betting terminals from £100 to £2 and an increase in NHS provision for gambling addicts  The Sheffield-based family’s story is told tomorrow night in the documentary ‘Robbing Your Relatives’ on Channel 5  Over 430,000 people are thought to be addicted to gambling in the UK.  David seemed an unlikely candidate to fall victim to the addiction He had a £70,000-a-year job as an accountant, there were no money worries and family life was normal  But in April 2014, he told his family he was facing a court appearance but assured wife Denise, 68, son Adam, 27 and twins Alex and Ryan, 23, that it was “work-related” and there was no cause for concern  Late afternoon the next day, David had not returned home and soon after the family received a call from his solicitor, telling them he was in the back of a van on his way to prison to start a two-year prison sentence  David had been regularly “re-invoicing” his own wages through his firm’s accounts, paying himself £53,000 over the course of a year in a bid to pay off his gambling debts  The family scrambled to find out what was happening but with no information left by David, son Adam described the situation as a ‘nightmare’  They then had to piece together the mess David had left them in, as well as sorting out the family finances  David had left behind almost £500,000 of debt through loans, remortgaging the house, late bills, credit cards and payday loans  He had been gambling away the family’s money for over 30 years.  After his release from prison, David and Adam set about turning the nightmare experience into something positive  They set up the charity Safer Online Gambling Group, which has the support of the NHS, politicians and leading betting and gaming companies  The campaign raises awareness of the problems of gambling addiction, helps protect children from the risks and has led to an increase in the level of NHS support for gambling addicts  Adam said: “We’re not about mud-slinging or aggressively trying to ban gambling  “We have to find a way to live with the addiction and that’s what our part in this documentary shows – how a lack of support for gambling addicts in this country can tear through families and communities  “Our work is all about sitting down with all parties and finding a solution which will both prevent addiction escalating and give much needed help to addicts Read More Top news stories from Mirror Online  “We’re pleased to do that in collaboration with industry, government and addicts themselves  “My dad has bravely given all access to Channel 5’s crew to show others what life is like in the grip of this serious mental health issue  “I hope it focuses people’s minds on what is really important in the debate on gambling addiction ” David and Adam Bradford will appear on Channel 5’s ‘Robbing Your Relatives’ on Wednesday 20th November at 10pm

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