Sometimes crime really doesn’t pay much, and of course it pays even less if you’re caught. Two of Merseyside’s civilian police workers have been convicted of fraud by a Liverpool crown court, and though the fraud itself amounted to only about £8,500 collectively, the two men are paying a heavy price.
42-year-old Barry Sheils worked at the exchequer services department at Brunswick Dock, and as a sideline he sold items on eBay. He sold about 3,600 items, some of them stolen from the police department. Sheils admitted to stealing 35 printer cartridges that he sold for about £1,000. The majority of the merchandise he sold consisted of Everton memorabilia, but his biggest mistake was using his employer’s franking machine to post the items.
Sheils had an accomplice who worked in the post room and did the actual franking, 45-year-old Andrew Glover. He was paid two bottles of brandy for his part in the operation. The court heard that postage costs of at least £7,500 were incurred at public expense, and Sheils charged his customers for postage, so he doubled his profits.
At sentencing Sheils was given a twelve-week prison term, suspended for a year with probation, and £2,500 in fines. Glover got 120 hours of unpaid community service work. However, as Judge Stephen Clarke pointed out to the defendants, they had also thrown away more than 20 years of their lives along with their jobs with the Merseyside Police, and gained a reputation as men who cheated their employers.