Fraudsters caused job losses at Barnsley firm

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

Jobs at a South Yorkshire firm had to be axed when the company ran up losses of £135,000 after two employees deliberately over-ordered stock to qualify for free gifts.

Purchasing manager Stephen Roberts, aged 48, and his assistant Shane Burkinshaw, 30, worked at window and door manufacturer Sash UK Ltd in Grimethorpe, Barnsley.

They over-ordered screws for their company to qualify for laptops, TVs, DVD players, wine, sportswear and high street shop gift vouchers, offered as purchase incentives, which they kept or sold on.

It left their bosses £135,000 down and forced them to axe jobs, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Many of the screws were not needed by the company and some were six times more expensive than the ones normally used.

Roberts and Burkinshaw either kept the gifts or sold them at car boot sales or to work colleagues.

Michael Rawlinson, prosecuting, said they ‘persistently and deliberately over-ordered’ large numbers of screws.

The fraud came to light in May 2011 after an audit showed ‘suspicious’ ordering patterns.

“This was done dishonestly and solely in order to qualify for associated purchase incentives or free gifts that were provided by certain suppliers of those screws,” he said,

The pair over-ordered 630 packs of screws worth £93,000 in total and the gifts they dishonestly kept were worth £41,695.

Both men covered their tracks by having some of the stock delivered to their homes, and they either altered invoices or completely removed references to the various gifts.

Roberts, of Felkirk View, Shafton, and Burkinshaw, of Manor Park, Silkstone, both admitted two offences of fraud by abuse of position.

Sentencing them, Judge Paul Watson said: “It resulted in the company having to spend a large amount of money and some people around you were losing their jobs, while you were lining your pockets.”

Roberts was given an 18-month jail term suspended for two years and was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid community work.

Burkinshaw received a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work.

Each were placed on electronically monitored evening curfews.