Call for Theresa May to act on gambling addiction that left Sheffield family in tatters

Denise and Adam Bradford want the Government to do more to support gambling addicts.
Denise and Adam Bradford want the Government to do more to support gambling addicts.
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A Sheffield man whose family was torn apart by gambling is writing to Theresa May calling for better support for addicts and their relatives.

The Bradford family are still coming to terms with the impact of dad David's spiral into crime.

The former financial controller stole tens of thousands of pounds from his employer to fund a secret gambling addiction, and spent eight months in prison for his crimes.

He is now back at the family home in Waterthorpe trying to rebuild his life. But the consequences for David, wife Denise and their children Adam, Alex and Ryan are still being felt.

David remortgaged the house to fund his addiction, and it is still at risk of being repossessed. And the emotional and psychological impact of what happened is still being felt by the whole family.

Adam and his mother want the Government to do more to support the victims of an industry that brings in billions of pounds in tax to the Treasury.

"It’s a leisure industry and most people do it for fun but there’s this growing minority getting into trouble," said Adam, an entrepreneur.

"There are things we think could be done to curb it.

"Labour put forward in their manifesto to reduce the amount you could stick in fixed odds betting terminals. Something like that would be perfect, and the rest of the industry would have to follow.

"My feeling is that a lot of that has fallen on deaf ears."

Estimates put the number of gambling addicts in the UK somewhere between 500,000 and one million. But Adam says the amount of money betting firms put into research and support is 'not enough',

He also wants the Government to look at making gambling less accessible.

"There was nothing available for my dad at the time, and nothing for the family either," he said.

"I’m going to deliver this letter to Downing Street because it’s that important.

"I have been running this campaign for three years and it feels like we have raised awareness and brought people on board like the NHS and local MPs. We got the broad support of David Cameron. But some people might say we have failed because we have not achieved anything.

"This is an opportunity for Theresa May to show leadership and do something about it. That’s why I’m going to her directly."

Denise, who is still coming to terms with having her husband back at home while also worrying about the future of the family home, added: "You are looking for answers, looking for someone to help you cope.

"Some people can gamble responsibly. But when it become an addiction it takes over your life and it ruins other lives. And no-one is at hand to even talk to you."