Suspended jail term for train station thief
PUBLISHED: 14:04 12 June 2013 | UPDATED: 14:04 12 June 2013
AN ENGINEER caught on CCTV stealing cash from the ticket machine at Weston train station has been handed a 40-week suspended jail sentence.
Jordan Searle, aged 31, helped himself to some £7,700 during a series of thefts from ticket vending machines he was supposed to be servicing.
Cardiff Crown Court heard this week how Searle carried out his crimes at railway stations across the South West in 2011 and 2012.
However, key evidence which led to his arrest and prosecution was behaviour capture on CCTV cameras at the Weston station.
Footage showed Searle removing a full banknote vault from the ticket machine, and taking it to a secluded position.
Searle remained in that position for two minutes. The court was told replacing the cash vault should have taken just 10 seconds.
Suspicions first arose when revenue losses were reported by machines at six different stations. Investigations revealed that each of those losses coincided with a visit from Searle.
Prior to October 2011, and since Searle’s arrest in February 2012, none of the machines had experienced any losses.
Scrutiny of Searle’s bank accountants revealed substantial cash payments during the months the cash had gone missing; notably, deposits of £1,642, £1,600 and £1,900.
Searle, of Prospect Crescent in Bristol, claimed the payments were the result of vehicle sales – but when pressed, could provide no details of either the vehicles or the buyers.
After pleading guilty to eight counts of theft, Searle was sentenced to 40 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid community work.
The court also ordered him to pay £4,000 in compensation to train operators.
Lead investigator Detective Constable Dilwyn Lewis of British Transport Police said: “A detailed financial investigation revealed Searle had deposited large sums of money into his account around the time the thefts took place.
“His assertion that this money was a result of vehicle sales simply didn’t hold water, as there was no evidence to back it up.
“Searle was a prolific thief who repeatedly stole for his own gains.
“He pocketed significant amounts of money on numerous occasions from his employers who had trusted him in a responsible position. He took advantage of, and abused, this position to steal from them.
“It’s pleasing to see that the court has taken a serious view of his actions, and I welcome the sentence handed down.”