More than £200,000 worth of iPhones and goods were stolen from a UPS distribution centre near Tamworth – by its own security guards.
The crooked staff were so brazen that they drove out with whole boxes of phones and then bragged on social media about how easy it was.
But the net finally closed in after covert security camerascaptured two guards, Mohammed Miah and Jaleel Khan, shifting consignments ofiPhones ready for them to be taken, reports Birmingham Mail.
Miah, 43, of Tottenham Crescent, Kingstanding, was jailed for four-and-a-half years after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of theft.
Khan, 30, of Corporation Street, Walsall, was jailed for two years and ten months after he admitted one theft charge.
Soyfur Rahman, 38, of Addersley Gardens, Saltley, also admitted a single theft charge and was jailed for 21 months.
And Mohammed Aamar, 28, of Swindon Road, Edgbaston, was jailed for 13 months after he pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property from his crooked colleagues.
Prosecutor Russell Pyne said all four men were working as security guards at the UPS distribution centre at the Birch Coppice Business Park in Dordon, near Tamworth, which handles 200,000 packages a day.
Because of losses from the centre in 2015, covert security cameras were installed in key places.
CCTV showed Miah and Khan one weekend in August 2015 moving boxes in an area they had no reason to go to.
UPS security specialist Ellis Grocock said five boxes, each containing 70 iPhones, destined for Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse, were stolen that weekend.
Asked what conclusion he could draw from a single phone from a box being found at a defendant’s home, he replied: “That the whole box would have been taken.”
He explained that that if a single phone had been taken from a box, it would be spotted straight away at UPS or by the customer that it was missing – but the loss of a whole box would not come to light so quickly.
Both Miah and Rahman had entered their pleas on the basis that they had not stolen as much as the prosecution alleged.
During a ‘trial of issue’ the court heard that when Miah was arrested, 29 iPhones were found in a van on his drive and another two in his home – of which 27 could be proved to have come from one of six stolen packages.
He also had a large quantity of other items, including clothing and cosmetics, at his home, in the van and in a storage unit he rented.
A total of 535 stolen items worth £3,753 were found at Khan’s home, and goods worth £7,476 at Rahman’s home.
All three men had been selling the stolen phones and other items on eBay and other sale sites, and Aamar received stolen goods worth about £1,300 from them which he then sold.
Miah claimed he had stolen only 57 phones during the course of his employment.
But Judge Anthony Potter said he was satisfied he had had access to ‘an ever-increasing amount’ of iPhones – boasting on social media about having 150 at one stage.
“He was taking full advantage of his position to abuse it,” commented the judge, who said that other messages indicated Miah having a 60-40 split with Khan.
“I am quite satisfied Mr Miah was the leader, and I am satisfied he took at least 50% of each consignment. I find he was responsible for stealing a total of 555 phones worth £189,055.”
And he rejected Rahman’s contention that he had stolen ten individual phones, finding that he had at least 20 phones from one consignment.
Delroy Henry, for Miah, conceded: “His greed undoubtedly got the better of him. Although there was a bid to minimise his role, it was never going to be litigated in front of a jury.”
Martin Liddiard, for Khan, said: “He spoke of Mr Miah, who had been working there before and who had cajoled him and told him he had been taking stuff from the place where they worked.
“He had something of a gambling problem. Mr Miah had lent him some money, and it was suggested at an early stage he would be doing Miah a favour and repaying some of the money he owed.”
Zaheer Afzal, for Rahman, said he had got into debt after borrowing money from a bank to set up a business which failed.
John Brotherton, for Aamar,said he had not been involved in the thefts, and had received a limited amount of the property.
Jailing all four, Judge Potter told them: “That you were here employed to guard against this danger is the most aggravating feature one can think of.
“The sheer scale of the thefts is encapsulated by the fact that it took the police over 600 hours to catalogue over 2,400 items that were recovered from your properties – and that is only a fraction of what you Miah, Rahman and Khan had stolen.
“The extent of your dishonesty, Mr Miah, is such that you had rented a Transit van and a storage facility in Wednesbury to disguise the amount of property you had stolen.
“You Mr Rahman may not have taken the leading role that Mr Miah took, but you broke seals on lorries on at least ten occasions to gain entry to steal products.”
And Judge Potter told Aamar: “You did not steal from the depot, but you were aware your colleagues were stealing, and you sought to benefit and you were given stolen items.”