A former BT employee has been jailed after he used family and friends' details to obtain £50,000 to fund his gambling and drug addictions.

Yasin Leli, 27, of Blackburn, even stole money from his father - and his brother's children's savings accounts - to fund his use of on-line casinos after running up debts of £100,000.

He fraudulently used information to get credit cards and bank loans and obtained sums of money ranging from £160 to £5,000.

Preston Crown Court heard that, despite the betrayal of trust, Leli's family had forgiven him and even sent letters to the judge detailing his good character.

Leli, who is from Blackburn but is of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to a total of 26 charges and asked for 152 similar offences to be taken into consideration. He was jailed for 20 months.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said the details used by Leli had belonged to members of his family, an ex-girlfriend and an ex-work colleague.

He even put on a female voice to obtain details of his ex girlfriends bank account, the court was told.

The court was told that the ex work colleague was targeted after working with the defendant for a number of years at BT.

Mr McEntee said: "He was going to Pakistan and would be away from his home address in Victoria Street, Darwen. Mr Ahmed explained he was going away during a telephone converstation with the defendant.

"On February 16 it was reported to a man looking after the address that the door of his house was ajar."

The post was missing from his house and when Mr Ahmed checked his bank accounts he discovered thousands of pounds were missing, the court heard.

The court was told that Leli posed as Mr Ahmed and went to Darwen sorting office to re-direct his post, where it would be collected by the defendant.

Leli was arrested at the sorting office and when police serached his address the deeds for Mr Ahmed's home address were found along with bank statements and pay slips.

The court was told that the offences began in April 2006 and Leli lost his job because of long term sickness in September the same year.

Richard Bennett, defending, said Leli had taken "desperate measures" after he had no means to pay off spiralling debts, around £100,000.

Mr Bennett said: "Significent debts were accrued because of a serious gambling and drug addiction. He was working by day and had a respectable job at British Telecom where he was earning a sustantial amount of money.

"He started off as a customer service advisor earning £13,000 and got promoted to where he was earning £26,000 a year.

"He was taking time off work because his gambling addiction had spiralled out of control. He was taking amphetamines every day, he was working all day and gambling all night. He said he would get paid on the last day of the month and it had all gone by the next day spending it all night on casinos."

Leli told police in interview that he was embarrased and ashamed about what he had done.

Mr Bennet added: "The five months he has spent in custody have been a significant lesson to him. He has carried out a drug course in prison which is indicative of his attitude and progress made in the prison environment."

Judge Norman Wright said: "You have been involved in a sophisticated fraud that was multifaceted, mean and nasty.

"It was despicable. I am satisfied that you are truly remorseful for what you have done.

"You got yourself into debt and turned on your nearest and dearest to help sustain your gambling addiction. There can only be custodial sentences for offending of this scale and nature."

After the case, a spokesperson for Gambling Therapy, an organisation which runs rehabilitation sessions across the country said: "Money is a gamblers drug and once they have exhausted legitimate means, such as savings or wages, they are likely to turn to illegal means. It is not uncommon for people to defraud friends, family and employers."

By Charlotte Bradshaw