I was meant to look after a mate’s drug money, but spent a load of it gambling

DEAR DEIDRE: I HAVE been looking after a mate’s drug money, but have spent a load of it gambling. I’m in serious trouble and may not get out of it alive. 

I know there is no real excuse but I am 24 and had been made redundant and it was easy money to stash his £22,000 in cash. 

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The trouble is I’ve spent the money over the past nine months on online betting platforms, betting shops when they were open and local casinos too. Now there is only £5,000 left.

I know it’s stupid but I really thought I could win and then have a bit of profit out of holding the money.

Now I’m terrified of what’s going to happen when my pal comes to collect his money. He’s texted to say he’ll arrange to meet in the next couple of weeks.

I’m scared to go to the police. I know what happens to grasses around where I live and my life won’t be worth living.

I used to work long hours in car manufacturing, getting up early before the rest of the house. I was proud of my monthly salary. I was saving up to put down a deposit on a flat and move in with my girlfriend. 

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But since my redundancy I got very low. I tried to find another job but there is no work around here. Eventually my girlfriend kicked me out so I’m back with my parents. 

My mum and dad have no clue about what’s going on.

I know I’ve let them down badly and wish someone could wave a magic wand.

I so wish I could go back to that day when I agreed to hold the money. I would say no over and over again.

Running away or gambling more feel like my only options.

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DEIDRE SAYS: Stop. Definitely don’t gamble any more of this drug money. That will simply dig you deeper into problems. You need some urgent help. 

Please contact the Victim Support line (victimsupport.org.uk, 0808 16 89 111), which is an independent charity that helps people cope with the effects of crime. 

You need legal advice, which you can get from Release (release.org.uk, 020 7324 2989), who specialise in drug offences. They have a team that will help set out your options for you. 

Read my support pack on Gambling Problems for help with your habit. 

Don’t run away, the only way to sort out your problems is to face up to them.

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