A MAN who stole more than four-and-a-half tonnes of scrap metal from his employer in Malton has avoided jail.
Judge Roger Ibbotson said Michael Gladstone, 50, of Darwin Drive in Driffield, had carried out a “systematic theft” over a prolonged period.
Robert Galley, prosecuting, said that Gladstone had taken 4.73 tonnes of metal from the Bacon Factory in Malton over a seven month period, starting in April last year.
He had been employed at the business for 11 years.
“He was employed as a forklift driver,” Mr Galley said. “There were 21 separate transactions with a scrap merchant in Hull over the period.
“He would place lengths of metal on his forklift, take them to his vehicle and then arrange to get rid of them.”
York Crown Court heard that Galley used a false name when selling the scrap, for which he received between £1 and £1.20 per kilogram.
In total, he was paid between £4,731 and £5,677.
When he was arrested, Galley, who pleaded guilty to a single charge of theft by employee, made admissions to police and said “I’ve been stupid.”
Steven Garth, mitigating, said his client, who had no previous convictions, warnings or reprimands, committed the crime out of desperation.
“He is a man of positive character,” he said. “For several years matters at the bacon factory went very well, but there came a time when the defendant’s job changed.
“He went from being a production operative to a storeman - in effect a demotion. By 2007 his incomings were £230 a week - half of what they were when he first started there.
“This coincided with his wife having to give up work - at a stroke they suffered a substantial drop in family income. That was the beginning of his difficulties.”
Mr Garth said that Gladstone began spending on credit cards to make up for his loss of income, and by spring last year his finances were “dire”.
“One day when his financial pressures were at their worst he decided to help himself to some of the scrap,” Mr Garth added.
“He stole for a second then a third time until it became a habit.
“As a result, he lost his job and significantly to him, his good name. He is ashamed to the core and feels a great burden at bringing shame on his family.
“It is hard to imagine how a man could be more sorry.”
Since Gladstone was sacked he got a new job at Cranswick Pet Products in Driffield. The court heard that the company was fully aware of the charge he was facing but still intended to offer him a full-time position.
Sentencing Gladstone, Judge Ibbotson said: “You used a false name and it went on for seven months. You knew what you were doing and continued to do it.
“However, you pleaded guilty, made admissions to police and have no previous warnings or convictions. It is obvious you are a hard-working man.
“You have sadly lost the good name you spent 50 years building up. I am satisfied you feel true remorse but I cannot ignore the systematic theft that was a breach of trust of your employer of 11 years.”
Gladstone was handed a 12-month community order and was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
No order was made for costs or compensation due to Gladstone’s lack of means.