Van driver charged with £27,000 clothes theft

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A VAN driver has appeared in court accused of stealing clothes valued at more than £27,000 from his employers.

Stephen Kell, of Windsor Terrace, Murton, worked for LRH Distribution of Birtley, delivering clothes to major stores such as Fenwicks in Newcastle.

Martin Scarborough, defending, told Durham Crown Court: “There is no doubt he is guilty, but there is a question over how much he took.

“The offending took place over a 13-month period.

“On some of the dates put to him by police, he was not at work so cannot have been responsible for those thefts.

“If the amount he admits to turns out to be under £20,000, it could have an influence on the sentence, according to the sentencing guidelines.”

Mr Scarborough added he would need time to discuss the case further with 57-year-old Kell to form a basis of plea.

The Recorder, Mr Martin Bethel, adjourned the case until Friday, November 29.

The recorder told Kell: “That will enable you to work out with your barrister the precise amount you admit to stealing.”

Kell was released on unconditional bail until his next court appearance.