Police who raided the Northern Ireland home of a mechanic suspected of theft found £3,782 worth of items, including car parts, that he had taken from his employer.
A court heard that it wasn’t just the value of the thefts that brought this instance to court, but the breach of trust.
What was worse was that the vehicle technician was working for Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI), and for some 30 years had been employed in its motor transport department where he maintained police vehicles.
The search at the home of Brian Milne, from Derrygonnelly, found tyres, shock absorbers, a pressure washer, oil sprays and other car parts after financial pressures led him to resort to theft.
According to the Fermanagh Herald, Judge Brian Sherrard said: “This represents an appalling breach of trust against your employer. You appeared to have adopted the view that some of the items taken were scrap or indeed it was simply common case for items to be taken.
“It’s clear the thefts were at least in part to meet a deterioration in your own finances. Some items ended up being sold while others lay in your garage for years.
“I’m mindful this represents a huge fall from grace. It seems likely these offences came at a time of immense stress both economically and in your family life … However, any theft such as this has an impact on the public purse and public confidence.”
Milne was given a 10-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay the full amount in compensation.
Prosecution counsel Simon Reid said: “The loss to PSNI was £3,782. It’s not so much the value of the thefts which brought this to the court, but the breach of trust aspect.”
Brian Milne’s defence barrister said his client was under “great strain due to excessive responsibilities of financial pressures” after he and his wife started building a new family home.
“They got themselves into significant debt, through no fault of their own. The defendant was under significant financial strain and still is. It is accepted culpability is high as is the breach of trust but the motivation was not to contribute to any sort of opulent or lavish lifestyle but to cut a few corners to make ends meet.”