A Knockloughrim man put his former employer out of business after breaking into their premises and stealing £10,000 worth of equipment.
Kyle Workman of Teermoneeny Park, faced his old boss from the dock in Magherafelt Magistrates Court last Wednesday, as he pleaded guilty to burglary.
The court heard how, in January last year, police were called to SG Auto Styling on Moneymore Road, Magherafelt after three men were seen going inside after the premises’ padlocks were cut.
The Public Prosecution Service [PPS] went on to say “£10,000 worth of tools and equipment was stolen” which “left the owner unable to do business”.
They explained how Workman was a casual employee at the shop until December 2013 “when he was told that his services were no longer required”.
When his home was searched after the burglary, a number of new tools were found in his back yard.
When police questioned him, the PPS said the defendant told them he was trying to set up a business of his own, but had no proof of purchase for the tools in question.
Later, during interview, Workman provided a prepared statement saying he was returning from Cookstown between 10.30-11pm on the night of the burglary and saw that SG Auto Styling was open so he decided “he was taking items to the value of what was owed to him”.
In Workman’s defence, counsel said his client had been out of trouble since January 2014 and had accepted that on January 14, 2014 that he committed this offence. He also said receipts the business had provided for some of the stolen items went as far back as 2011.
The lawyer then explained: “There was a breakdown in the relationship over the course of his employment which motivated him to act in this way.”
He added that the majority of the items had been returned, a statement which was rubbished when the prosecution handed Judge White a list proving otherwise.
Before passing sentence, Judge White told Workman: “You have pleaded guilty to a very serious offence involving dishonesty which had a catastrophic effect on this business.”
Workman was given a nine month prison term, suspended for three years, and ordered to pay the injured party £3,000 at a rate of £100 per week, starting on June 30.
Judge White added: “If you do not pay the compensation you can expect to go into custody.”