A MAN who ran up credit card debts to fund his secret gambling addiction took his own life, an inquest heard.

Anthony Strange, 20, of Cardigan Close, Redcar, was discovered hanging from a railing at the rear of the Regent cinema in the town, in November last year.

The inquest at Teesside Magistrates' Court yesterday heard Mr Strange's body was found by a man walking his dog along the beach at Redcar on Monday, November 8.

Despite attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead at the James Cook University Hospital.

Home Office pathologist Campbell Ritchie said the cause of death was hanging and there were no drugs or alcohol in his body.

Teesside Coroner Michael Sheffield said that there was enough doubt about whether he intended to take his own life to record an open verdict.

Mr Strange's grandfather said: "He was in an awful lot of debt. He applied for a credit card and he got one with a £1,250 limit.

"Within two months, he had reached his limit - he had blown the lot.

"The only clue to his gambling addiction was that he wrote his final messages to his family on betting slips. The day he died, he went out with £180 and when they found him he had just 35p in his pockets."

Mr Strange hit the headlines two years ago when he was in a row involving former-Newcastle United star Jonathan Woodgate.

He later withdrew allegations that the former England defender had punched him at the Dickens Inn, in Middlesbrough, in April 2003.