Jail for arrogant fruit machine fugitive who posted gloating pictures on social media

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A major gaming firm based in Bamber Bridge was ripped off to the tune of £6,982 by a cocky fruit machine thief - who posted pictures of his antics on Facebook while on the run from Lancashire Police.


Ian Andrew Sparkes, 29, of no fixed abode, used skeleton keys to steal thousands from machines owned by Regal Gaming and Leisure, based on Brookfield Place, Walton Summit, during a theft spree in pubs and arcades across the country.

Ian Sparkes

Ian Sparkes


Sparkes was recognised on CCTV by a security worker at the company because he had offended against them before.


At Preston Crown Court he was jailed for 20 months after admitting 21 thefts from gaming machines.


The majority were in Blackpool, but others took place in Accrington Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool, Halifax, Southport and Walthamstow.


Arrogant Sparkes posted images of himself next to games machines and outside amusement arcades, as well as holding wads of cash.

Sparkes posing with cash

Sparkes posing with cash


In one post he wrote: “Crimewatch that.”


In another, while on the run he brags: “ Get new sim card today then I will even put my location up I bet I still don’t get arrested.”


Judge James Adkin said: “There are Facebook images gloating about your criminal profits.


“You appear to roam the country stealing from gaming machines with special keys to enable you to have access to the machines.”

Sparkes posing next to a fruit machine

Sparkes posing next to a fruit machine