'My car needed fixing,' says employee stole nearly £5,000 of equipment from Edulab
PUBLISHED: 16:17 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:39 07 December 2017
An employee stole nearly £5,000 of scientific equipment from his workplace, saying he needed the money to help fix his car.
Peter Tuckfield, of School Lane, Little Melton, in Norwich, stole £4,931.90 of items while he was working as a warehouse operative in Edulab in Downham Market, which supplies laboratory equipment.
He then sold the items to an eBay seller for £3,180 after failing to sell them himself.
Tuckfield has been ordered to pay back the £4,931.90 value of the stolen items in compensation to Edulab, as well as complete 200 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order.
“The only reason I did it was because my car needed fixing,” the 29-year-old told King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court.
“I have never done this before and I am really sorry for it.”
Tuckfield appeared before magistrates on Thursday, December 9 after pleading guilty to theft by employee but disputing the amount he was originally accused of taking.
Prosecutor Fred Sagoe said Tuckfield had stolen the items between April and July this year, and the alarm was raised when Edulab staff found the items being sold on eBay.
Giving evidence in court, business owner Robert Hynd said he was handed a schedule of items that were missing from the warehouse to the police, which amounted close to £10,000.
When asked whether he had a good relationship with Tuckfield, he answered: “Yes, absolutely.
“When Mr Tuckfield was arrested it was one of the biggest shocks of my life. We worked together on the basis of trust.”
However Dave Foulkes, defending, said Tuckfield only accepted taking £4,931.90 worth of items, which chairman of the bench Stuart Hall accepted as it was not ascertained whether Tuckfield had in fact stolen all of the missing items.
But Mr Hall added: “This is a serious offence and certainly a breach of trust.” Tuckfield was ordered to pay £4,931.90 compensation to Edulab and handed a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work.
Tuckfield had worked at Edulab for nearly three years and was employed by contracting company Foulgers Transport, which ran the warehouse owned by Edulab.