Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jail for Man Who Stole PS10k Worth of Stock; Judge Loses Patience with Thieving Ex-Shop Worker

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Jail for Man Who Stole PS10k Worth of Stock; Judge Loses Patience with Thieving Ex-Shop Worker

Article excerpt

Byline: GARETH LIGHTFOOT gareth.lightfoot@reachplc.com @GazetteCourt

A FORMER shop worker who stole PS10,000 worth of stock - and snorted the profits - has finally learned his fate at court.

Lee Sibley's future hung in the balance as he failed to save up any money to pay back his former employers, Flannels in Middlesbrough.

The 33-year-old had been given six months to find work and start paying back the money, but when he returned for sentencing last week he had not repaid a penny.

Judge Howard Crowson gave him a last chance to begin to make amends, when he postponed sentencing at Teesside Crown Court for 10 days.

On Thursday he was back before the court with an offer to repay - but having still not paid a penny.

And the judge's patience finally ran out when he jailed him for a year telling him it was the only "appropriate punishment".

Sentencing Sibley, he told him he had breached a "high degree of trust" at Flannels, affecting the business and livelihoods. He told the hearing he had given Sibley a chance to make efforts to repay some, not all, of the money.

"You're unable to explain to me now, why it has not been possible to pay a penny which I find demonstrates you're not remotely interested in paying back your employer.

"The reality is you've simply put it off in the hope that I will continue to defer sentence.

"The only appropriate punishment can be achieved by immediate custody."

The judge said he could not order compensation but encouraged Flannels to take action against Sibley to get the money back.

He added: "They will have every reason to pursue you in the future.

"You have the prospect of earning the money and you should therefore pay it back."

Sibley swiped PS10,000 worth of goods in a month while he worked at the Flannels designer clothes store in Middlesbrough.

He arranged to sell the stock to an online seller in June last year, and kept the money himself, the court had been told. …

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