An employee admitted stealing nearly £5,000 worth of scratch cards while working at a Grantham news agents.
Damien Davis, aged 22, of Victoria Street, Grantham pleaded guilty to committing the thefts of scratch cards, valued at a total of £4,898, between July 1 and October 8 this year.
The court heard how the defendant had taken out payday loans and built up large debts.
Prosecutor Jim Clare detailed how Davis was employed at Michelsons News Agents, when the shop manager started to notice that the sale of scratch cards was running high.
It was then noticed by the manager that when the defendant was working, the key to the scratch card dispenser was left in it, giving free access.
Eventually Davis was confronted about the discrepancy, but stated that he had been selling a lot to his friends.
However when he was questioned again Davis broke down in tears and admitted to the thefts, citing his considerable debts as the reason.
Bill Fraser, defending, said that this was the first time Davis had been in trouble, having had no previous convictions. Mr Fraser told the court that his client was suffering from depression and saw the scratch cards as a way of repaying his debts.
He added that Davis has a four-year-old daughter who he sees periodically, and that he had managed to find another job. The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, with Davis remaining on unconditional bail until his sentencing on December 29.