Se­cu­rity guard stole gear from new fire sta­tion to sell on

Rochdale Observer - - MEMORY WALK -

ASECURITY guard who was as­signed to pro­tect a newly­built fire sta­tion se­cretly plun­dered the store room for life-sav­ing equip­ment so he could sell it on eBay, a court heard.

When of­fi­cers raided Karl Shel­don’s home they found a stash of two-way ra­dios, fire­fight­ers’ hel­mets and other items.

Manch­ester mag­is­trates court heard how the 52-year-old had also stolen tu­nics, ther­mal imag­ing cam­eras and even a heart de­fib­ril­la­tor ma­chine, all from the £10m Fire Train­ing Cen­tre in Bury where he was a night watch­man.

Shel­don, from Castle­ton, Rochdale, de­nied theft by an em­ployee – claim­ing he thought the items were be­ing thrown out ‘and pre­sumed it wasn’t against the law to take the items from the bin’.

He was found guilty by the mag­is­trates af­ter a trial.

Other em­ploy­ees first grew sus­pi­cious when items started go­ing miss­ing, and Shel­don was un­masked as the thief af­ter col­leagues saw one of the hel­mets for sale on­line and a sting opera- tion was be­gun, the court heard.

One mem­ber of staff posed as a prospec­tive buyer in­ter­ested in a ta­ble ad­ver­tised on Shel­don’s ac­count. Af­ter agree­ing a price and be­ing given his ad­dress for col­lec­tion, the de­tails were passed on to po­lice.

Of­fi­cers raided Shel­don’s home and found an Aladdin’s cave of stolen items in­clud­ing four hel­mets, pro­mo­tional items for the fire ser­vice and six two-way ra­dios. They also found four fire tu­nics, five fire hel­mets and a de­fib­ril­la­tor at the home of his part­ner’s daugh­ter.

In­quiries re­vealed CCTV had cap­tured Shel­don as he walked out of the store room with black bags stuffed with items. He later claimed he thought the items were ‘rub­bish’ dumped by the fire ser­vice.

Shel­don was found guilty of theft by em­ployee of items worth £18,353 while his part­ner Tracey Pol­lard, 50, was con­victed of han­dling stolen goods.

Both de­nied the charges. The orig­i­nal es­ti­mated value of the stolen items was £25,000.

The court heard the thefts oc­curred be­tween Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber last year while Shel­don, who worked for Lock­down Se­cu­rity, was guard­ing the Greater Manch­ester Fire and Res­cue fa­cil­ity.

Lynn Say­ers, pros­e­cut­ing, told the court that staff no­ticed yel­low and black hel­mets, per­sonal ra­dios, ther­mal im­age cam­eras, a de­fib­ril­la­tor and bal­a­clavas had gone miss­ing.

Miss Say­ers said: “’Th­ese are items which are per­sonal to the fire ser­vice. Sim­i­lar items were then found on eBay and they were be­ing sold by Trac_Sheldo.

“CCTV footage from Oc­to­ber 30 was viewed (and showed) Karl Shel­don en­ter­ing emp­ty­handed. He was in the build­ing for a cou­ple of min­utes and he came back out with a black box.’’

The court was told how the black boxes nor­mally hold ther­mal imag­ing cam­eras.

Neil Fox, fire ground as­sis­tant based at the Bury Train­ing Cen­tre, said in a state­ment: “My col­league showed me a hel­met for sale on eBay and I said that it looked like it came from train­ing cen­tre.

“I emailed the ac­count holder pre­tend­ing to be in­ter­ested in a ta­ble and the ac­count holder replied with his ad­dress. A bid was made on the ta­ble and we won.”

The ad­dress was then handed to po­lice.

Shel­don, who had worked at the fa­cil­ity for 11 months, told the hear­ing: “I was emp­ty­ing the bins from the kitchen, re­moved the rub­bish and then no­ticed the items which I took to my house.

“I just pre­sumed it wasn’t against the law to take the items from the bin, so I took them. I just pre­sumed that some­body had thrown them away. I thought th­ese were sought af­ter items and I could sell them on.

“I just didn’t think it was against the law to re­move them. When I was told I was be­ing ar­rested for theft, I couldn’t be­lieve it. I just thought it was rub­bish. I didn’t steal any­thing.”

In her ev­i­dence Pol­lard, who is con­fined to a wheel­chair, claimed she did not think the items were stolen and said her part­ner had been sell­ing the items to raise money for his cat sanc­tu­ary he had set up to find homes for aban­doned pets.

She added: “I be­lieved that they were rub­bish and Karl had brought them in.

“It never came into my mind that they were stolen items.

“Karl is an hon­est man, he is a giver not a taker. If I had known they were stolen, I would have called the po­lice.”

The pair will be sen­tenced later fol­low­ing a court hear­ing next month, which will de­cide whether they should be dealt with be­fore a judge at crown court due to the se­ri­ous na­ture of the charges.

Shel­don and Tracey Pol­lard leav­ing court

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.