Waitrose worker Martin Foley stole 1,000 items from store to sell on eBay
WAITROSE worker Martin Foley stole about 1,000 items of stock from the firm's Cheltenham store and sold it all on eBay, a court heard.
The father-of-two's thefts of iPods and other electronic and electrical equipment from the shop, which went on for between five and six years, netted him £25,961 through the internet auction site.
Foley, 45, of Welch Road, Hester's Way, Cheltenham, admitted the thefts between May 2006 and August 2012 and was jailed for nine months.
Lisa Hennessy, prosecuting, said Foley had been a trusted member of staff at the Cheltenham Waitrose store until September last year when another worker became a "whistleblower" and alerted the company.
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Waitrose fraud investigators set a trap for Foley by bidding for an iPod nano which he was selling online.
They won the auction and when the iPod arrived they checked its serial number and found it had come from the shop's stock.
"He said he took items, hid them in Waitrose carrier bags and then, at a suitable opportunity, hid them in his car. He advertised them on eBay and posted them off from Hester's Way post office," said Mrs Hennessy.
"He said he did it because he was in debt. His eBay account was checked and it was found over £25,000 worth of stolen goods had been sold. There were iPods, DVDs, hardware and software for computers.
"He was, until this, a man of good character."
Paul Trotman, defending, said Foley's financial difficulties began nine years ago when his wife had a very difficult pregnancy with their first child and gave up work.
"He began to amass a number of considerable debts," Mr Trotman said. "He tells me he was placed under considerable pressure by those debts."
Foley had begun eBay trading honestly, selling his own possessions to meet his debts. But he then turned to crime.
"He started removing items of stock and selling them and he just got into the habit of doing that. He tells me it was a relief when he was discovered," said Mr Trotman.
Foley now has a part-time job in BHS, after receiving "ironically" favourable references from Waitrose, Mr Trotman added.