Gisburn abattoir meat thief (61) is spared jail

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A trusted employee stole £15,000 worth of meat and diesel from an abattoir firm he had worked for 30 years.

Robert Bedford would drive on to the Dunbia site near Gisburn before the normal working day would start and help himself to meat.

He got a security guard to switch off CCTV cameras so that he could steal fuel.

Bedford, appearing at Preston Crown Court last week on his 61st birthday.

was given a 12-month month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with an order to do 200 hours unpaid work and pay £425 costs. The court heard he had repaid the £15,000 with a cheque.

Bedford had admitted theft between April 1st and November 7th 2011.

Miss Sarah Johnson, prosecuting, said before losing his job, Bedford, of Ashleigh Street, Darwen, had been a carcasses manager, in charge of seven other workers. “He entered into an arrangement with a security guard to facilitate going onto the plant undetected, for the purpose of removing diesel and meat items,” she said.

“There were arrangements for the CCTV cameras to be switched off, so that he could drive onto the site undetected, park up and load items of meat before driving off.”

Defence barrister Richard Bennett said Bedford received £100 per side of meat, giving £25 of it to the security guard.

He said: “The defendant knows it has been a terrible way to behave towards his family.”

Judge Christopher Cornwall told him “Dunbia must be extremely depressed to know that someone they have employed for 30 years, who they believed had given good and loyal service over that period of time, descended so low as to steal from them. You were meant to set

an example. It was an abysmal one which you set.”