A YOUNG man left in charge of his parents' home while they went on a mini-break to Amsterdam ran up internet gambling debts of £30,000 using his dad's credit cards.
Blackburn magistrates heard Daniel Richardson, 22, sent his parents an e-mail pointing them in the direction of his crime and then went to the police station and admitted what he had done.
Richardson was accompanied by his dad at court and the chairman of the magistrates praised the "amazing" family support the defendant had received despite the "serious breach of trust."
Richardson, of Rhyddings Street, Oswaldtwistle, pleaded guilty to seven charges of theft from Stephen Richardson and asked for five similar offences to be taken into consideration.
He was made subject to community supervision for 12 months and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.
Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Richardson had a history of problems with gambling going back to when he was 18.
Miss Allen said: "He began to get in debt using credit cards and over the years the family have helped.
"They thought he was in control of his addiction."
On 6 October his parents went to Amsterdam and arranged for him to look after his sisters until their return on 8 October.
They found an e-mail which said that under the desk there were two envelopes containing something he felt he should tell them.
Miss Allan, said: "One contained a letter explaining how he had run up debts using Mr Richardson's credit cards and saying how sorry he was.
"The other contained two documents detailing the transactions he had made gambling on the Internet."
Richardson, who had lost nearly £30,000, later told police he had been winning at one stage before being drawn into making bigger and bigger bets.
After the thefts were reported to the police the Halifax had reimbursed Mr Richardson £19,800, MBNA Europe had reimbursed £7,272 but the Abbey had not reimbursed £2,800 although there was an indication that may happen on conviction.
Clare Knight, defending, said Richardson was deeply remorseful and fully appreciated the anguish he had caused his parents.
She said: "He went to the police himself and admitted what he had done and has shown genuine remorse for his actions."
Passing sentence the chairman said the magistrates believed a great deal of distress had been caused to Richardson's family.
The chairman, said: "Despite that you have amazing family support and that has gone in your favour."
She said it was apparent from a pre-sentence report that Richardson did not feel Gamblers Anonymous would be particularly helpful.
"I would ask you to reconsider that," said the chairman.
"They are the people who know this subject and perhaps you should give them another try."