Security firm employee jailed after stealing metal to sell as scrap for £9,000 - when it was actually worth £129K

A Sunderland man has been jailed for almost three years after stealing £129,000 worth of metal castings that he was paid to protect – and selling them as scrap for just £9,000.

Saturday, 9th November 2019, 12:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 7:40 pm

David Burn worked for a security firm when he stole metal castings his company was employed to protect so he could trade it in for extra cash.

But the £9,679 he got for scrap was just a fraction of the £129,501 the metal castings were actually worth.

Durham Crown Court heard that when questioned by police the 44-year-old also pointed the finger at two other innocent employees claiming he was acting on the instruction of others.

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Metal castings which were being stored by Steadfast Security were stolen by David Burn and sold for scrap.

Between March and May 2017, Burn, of Lily Street, Sunderland, made seven trips to a local scrap dealer to trade in the stolen metal castings for cash.

At the time he was working for Steadfast Security, in Peterlee, which had a contract with Caterpillar, also based in the town, to store the metal castings.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said: “As a result of the thefts Steadfast Security lost the storage contract with Caterpillar.

“The contract was worth £11,000 a month to the company. They have lost £11,000 a month because Caterpillar no longer trust them.

“They have let off six members of staff. That can’t be related directly to [Burn’s] actions but the company is not as busy so there is a decline in demand.

“A proportion of [staff losses] will be because of this – they can say that because of this they have not been as busy and there is six staff have been let go.”

Steadfast Security still has a logistics contract with Caterpillar.

The court heard that during two voluntary interviews with police, Burn lied about having a second bank account and pointed the finger at another member of staff and the son of a company director claiming he was acting on orders and that the money was being split between all three.

But there was no evidence that the money from the scrap dealers into Burn’s bank account was being sent of withdrawn to be given to another criminal party.

There is also discussions ongoing to decide how Caterpillar will be reimbursed for the worth of the metal castings – meaning Steadfast Security may have to fork out almost £130,000 if insurers don’t pay up, the court heard.

Vic Laffey, mitigating, admitted Burn had been ‘foolish’ to lie about the theft and point blame.

He said: “[Burn] had been employed by Steadfast Security for seven years as a warehouse man.

“His son is the spur behind why all of these offences occurred. The son is in significant debt, both civil and what can only be described as drug debt.”

Burn resigned from his job on May 19, 2017, and following this his long-term relationship broke down.

He is the sole carer for his youngest daughter, who is just 16, and despite the criminal charges has found employment in Washington.

The 44-year-old has formed a relationship with another woman and the pair had intended to marry.

“This will have a dramatic effect on his life but it will also have a dramatic effect on his daughter’s life – that’s the thing he is most concerned about,” said Mr Laffey.

“The offences occurred because he wanted to assist his son. His son fell very quickly back into his old ways and what [Burn] attempted to do actually didn’t have any lasting effect.”

Burn now has no contact with his son.

Jailing Burn for 32 months on Friday, November 8, Judge Jonathon Carroll said: “You lied in the police interviews, said you only had one bank account and were acting on the instruction of others.

“You said you were in it with them and pointed the blame directly at innocent people.”

Burn, who admitted one count of theft by employee, was given a 48 month sentence which was reduced to 32 months for his early guilty plea.

A victim surcharge also applies and a proceeds of criminal act hearing has been adjourned to November 29 so Burn’s assets can be accessed to see what funds he can pay back the company he stole from.