Sunderland courier caught stealing £1,000 worth of parcels

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A COURIER was caught stealing £1,000 worth of parcels after a random check uncovered he had stolen a pallet destined for another delivery.

Peter Cowe had worked for City Link at its depot in Belmont in Durham for four years when he decided to take the packages for dispatch on another run on impulse.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court was told items had been going missing at the base for six weeks, leading bosses to launch extra checks.

The eight parcels, including a dirt bike, vacuum cleaner, television, heater and speaker system, were found as Cowe’s van was searched before it left the gates on Monday, November 11.

The 46-year-old, of Athol Road, Hendon, admitted theft by an employee.

The bench was told a scanning system is in place to track the items handled by the firm, with each driver logging out their batch before they leave the depot.

Blair Martin, prosecuting, said: “The deliveries in question should have been delivered on a previous occasion, and the postcode on the parcels showed their destination was in a TS postcode, and the defendant’s parcels were for a DL postcode on the day in question.

“The items were not his to be delivered.

“In interview with police, Cowe said there was no reason why he picked them up and says he didn’t know what he was going to do with these items, so it has been an opportunistic matter.

“The breach of trust by the defendant clearly damages the reputation of the company, although the goods were recovered.”

Barry Gray, mitigating, said: “There is some suggestion there has been something going on for weeks, which is nothing to do with my client.

“This was a random check, and he had no reason to think his van wouldn’t be checked.

“He’s lost his job and his reputation because of this impulsive silly act.”

Mr Gray added that Cowe now has no income, as he is unable to claim benefits because of the way he lost his job.

He had suffered the breakdown of a five-year relationship, and the dad of grown-up children was now living with a niece.

Magistrates adjourned the case until Tuesday to allow the probation service to carry out reports.

Cowe was released on unconditional bail until that hearing.