Tesco security guards stole £20,000 of stock
Two security guards have been jailed for a scam involving the sale of thousands of pounds worth of goods stolen from the Tesco store where they worked.
John Costello (35), described at Leicester Crown Court as a "major player" who flagrantly helped himself to £20,000 worth of electrical goods and computer games, was jailed for two years. Much of the stock was sold on eBay by his then partner, Emma Sexton, from their home in Liberty Road, Braunstone Frith, Leicester.
Karl Davies, who was cleared of theft by a jury, admitted selling £32,000 worth of valuables on eBay, after they were stolen by a prolific shoplifter. Many of the items came from the same Tesco store, in Beaumont Leys.
Davies (36), of Aikman Avenue, New Parks, was jailed for 12 months, and also faces having £23,000 confiscated from his bank account.
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A third security guard, Vijay Gohel, initially turned a blind eye, but ended up helping Costello to remove a trolley full of items from the store.
Jonathan Cox, prosecuting, said an investigation arose following significant losses at the store between January and December 2010.
"During that time, Costello, Davies and Gohel were employed there as security guards," Mr Cox told the court.
"The store's total losses were nearly half a million pounds, a three-fold increase on losses from the previous year and also the year afterwards.
"It was mainly Costello taking stock – utterly contradictory to what he was supposed to be doing."
Gohel blew the whistle on the scam on December 11, 2010, when he turned his manager's attention to the baby changing area of the store – where items were concealed behind the false ceiling.
Gohel claimed he had not reported the scam earlier as he was afraid, after Costello showed him a photo of a shotgun on his mobile phone.
Police searching for the stolen goods found a gun under Costello's bed.
Costello was jailed for two years in June 2011, for illegally possessing the weapon and ammunition.
He admitted theft of Tesco stock and converting criminal property, but sentencing for those offences was delayed until yesterday, for Davies' trial to take place.
Costello disputes showing a picture of a gun to Gohel or threatening him to keep quiet.
Mr Cox told the court that Gohel was less involved.
Gohel (38), of Goodwood Road, Leicester, admitted theft of goods relating to one trolley.
He was given a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and 250 hours of unpaid work.
Sexton (31), a mother-of-two, admitted converting criminal property. She was given a 10- month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work, and faces having £9,834 confiscated from her bank account.
Sexton married Costello in February 2011, but they are now divorcing.
She told police Costello told her to sell the goods.