Thieving supervisor bought £14,487 in goods using Hartlepool firm's accounts to sell on eBay and pay off debts

A thieving supervisor cost a Hartlepool company a contract and led to redundancies, a court has been told.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 2:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th October 2019, 4:39 pm
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Mark Hesslewood, 31, had worked for the family firm HES Group Ltd for 13 years when the boss discovered they were in trouble.

Managing director Ian Howarth challenged him and he admitted ordering goods on the firm’s accounts and selling them cheap on eBay to pay off his debts.

Hesslewood, who had no previous convictions, was given a suspended prison sentence at Teesside Crown Court when he admitted that over two years he stole goods worth £14,487.

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The company instals bathrooms for elderly people and had contracts for Durham City Council.

Andrew Teate, defending, said that Hesslewood was distraught and ashamed at the effect his thefts had on the HES Group and his family.

He said that Hesslewood made instant admissions to Mr Howarth and to the police and he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Mr Teate added: “Many people would deny or say nothing, but not this man.

”He expresses within the body of the pre-sentence report in some details the regret and remorse he feels for the company and for the family.”

Hesslewood, who has a new job earning £32,000 a year, offered to pay compensation.

He began stealing after his university student partner became pregnant and he could not meet the extra bills and mortgage on their home, said Mr Teate.

Saba Shan, prosecuting, said that Hesslewood was a trusted member of the staff and he was treated like a member of the family.

The company worked for local authorities throughout the North East. Ms Shan said the offences were aggravated by the fact that he was in a high degree of trust and responsibility.

Mr Howarth said in a Victim Impact statement that he had to make people redundant and they had lost a contract.

Hesslewood was arrested on July 4 and he confessed that he used the company accounts to buy products from wholesalers and sold them on eBay because he was in debt.

Mr Teate said that Hesslewood had all reasonable prospects of rehabilitating, and that immediate custody would result in a significant impact on others. His partner was taking a university course and their mortgage depended on his ability to pay.

Judge Peter Armstrong told him: “I have come to the conclusion from everything I have read about you that it is possible to suspend the sentence in your case and that you can receive a punishment in the community.”

Hesslewood, of Deanbank Avenue, Horden, was given a 16 month jail sentence suspended for two years, with 20 days rehabilitation requirements and 200 hours unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to theft.

He was also ordered to pay £3,600 compensation at £100 a month, and he could face a civil claim from the company.