Torquay Currys worker stole MacBooks and iPhones worth £35K

A Curry's worker in Torquay made more than £20,000 stealing laptops, iPhones and other high-tech devices from the store and selling them for his own profit. Joseph Shaw helped himself to a large volume of stock over a period of almost two years, Exeter Crown Court was told.

He sold the items to a shop in the town - telling them he had bought them legally in online raffles. But an investigation by Currys revealed he was responsible for stealing stock worth £35,000.

Shaw was branded an "accomplished liar" by the judge who had "spun a detailed web of deceit" to cover his tracks. The 37-year-old, of Doctors Road in Brixham, admitted theft and was given a suspended sentence with 300 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard the offences came to light after Shaw handed in his notice in August 2022. The manager had become aware of missing Apple MacBooks from the stock delivery area where Shaw had worked.

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It was established the items had been sold to a local retailer, CEX, which buys and sells electronic devices. CEX confirmed Shaw was a regular customer, coming in once or twice a week to sell items. He told them he bought them in online raffles. He appeared to be adept at the process, saying he bought multiple tickets to maximise winnings, and showing one staff member how to do it.

"He said he was bidding on certain items and then appeared with the items in a few weeks time," said prosecutor Lewis Aldous.

Police checked Shaw's bank account and found he had received more than £20,00 by selling items with a retail price of £35,427. A statement by the Currys store manager said much time and effort had been spent getting to the bottom of the theft.

Shaw was given a caution back in 2011, the court heard. While working at another shop he had taken money from customers but rang it through the till as a no sale, pocketing £300 for himself. He was unhappy with management for not getting paid a bonus, it was said.

Kelly Scrivener, defending, said Shaw was a family man struggling to meet debts. He doesn't lead an extravagant lifestyle, has little money in the bank and a new job.

Judge David Evans said: "Your offending went on for nearly two years. You were thoroughly dishonest for a long period of time. You are an accomplished liar and it is difficult to believe what you say. You enjoyed spending the money and it was not all spent on debt.

"You had the temerity to deny it to police and insulted the managers. There's a pattern here because in 2011 you stole from a previous employer and again blamed managers who weren't treating you in the way you wanted."

Shaw was jailed for 15 months, suspended for two years. He was told to pay back £3,600 in instalments as compensation.