A MAN scammed his own employer out of more than £40,000 after he found himself unable to cope with growing debts.
Oxford Crown Court heard on Thursday how Paul Robertshaw had used his position as procurement manager at Kidlington’s Orion Securities to ‘double up’ on orders before selling on the spares.
The 37-year old from Tarret Burn, Didcot, amassed £42,358.28 using his online store ‘Monkey Socks 1980’ to sell on security systems purchased by the firm.
The eight-year scam, between May 2008 and May 2016 only came to light when one disgruntled customer called the firm to complain that one item sold illegally by Robertshaw was faulty.
Prosecuting, Henry James, said: “The man contacted the company to complain about some faulty item he had purchased.
“Alarm bells rang when it became apparent that the company didn’t sell that particular item.
“Robertshaw was questioned about this and he admitted that it was part of his own enterprise on E-Bay.”
The long-running staffer for the business which now turns over £12m a year was suspended before being interviewed by police and quickly owning up to the whole operation.
Mr James added: “There was a huge number of security related items being sold by Mr Robertshaw.”
The court heard that Robertshaw, who is a married father of three children, was a ‘hard-working’ and ‘trusted’ member of staff who had been one of the founding figures of the successful business.
When he first started stealing from his employer and selling on the items it had been in a bid to solve his debt issues, the court head.
Defending, Darren Samat said that his client was now ‘virtually unemployable’ and added: “He has learned an extremely hard lesson and he isn’t going to be able to find work in any sort of position of trust.”
In sentencing Judge Ian Pringle called Robertshaw’s actions a ‘gross breach of trust’.
He said: “The bewilderment and astonishment of your manager just shows how they could not believe that someone could resort, as a faithful employee, to take that amount of money.
“It came about from your own personal situation, to clear your own increasing debts.”
Robertshaw was ultimately sentenced to 15 months in prison suspended for two years and also ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.
He must also obey a curfew ordered for two months to stay at home between 9pm and 6am each day.