A man betrayed his friends and work colleagues by pawning jewellery he was entrusted with, a court heard.
Mark McCloy, who had a background in the jewellery trade, used the money he raised to try to pay off a gambling debt.
Preston Crown Court was told he was so remorseful about what he did that he wrote letters to some of his victims, with a receipt enclosed so they were know where their property had been sold.
The 47-year-old, now living in Watford, pleaded guilty to six offences of theft and two of fraud and was also dealt with for theft and fraud offences from Redditch area.
The case involved jewellery worth around £8,575.
Judge Stuart Baker said the worst instance had been carried out against an old school friend who gave McCloy a temporary roof over his head.
He went on to steal £1,600 of her jewellery and the pieces were melted down and could not be recovered.
McCloy stole other pieces including a diamond ring and necklace after promising to do work on them, the court heard.
The defence said McCloy had a gambling addiction and had pawned items to pay debts back in Northern Ireland.
His gambling problem began just before 1996 and had started with him placing small bets with colleagues on horse racing but that developed into a serious addiction.
The defendant was offered a £3,000 loan, but apparently ended up repaying around £30,000.
Judge Stuart Baker said McCloy had behaved in a nasty and mean way.
He gave him six months in prison, suspended for two years, with 150 hours unpaid work and an order to pay £2,615 compensation, plus an £80 statutory surcharge.