eBay scam leads to jail term

David Royston Ellis
David Royston Ellis
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A WAREHOUSE worker has been jailed for stealing televisions and auctioning them on eBay as part of a suspected £120,000 scam.

David Royston Ellis, 49, of Ward Street, Kirkham, admitted stealing television screens from a Clifton firm which supplies audio and visual equipment, and auctioning them on the online auction site.

Ellis, who worked as a warehouse manager at The Life Channel Group Ltd, pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates’ Court, after cooking up the sophisticated fraud’.

The case was based on the sale of three LG flatscreen televisions sold to two people for £214.

But bosses said they have uncovered hundreds of missing items, and stopped searching when the total loss hit £120,000.

Ellis was jailed for 15 weeks.

Bosses carried out a stock take and said they found hundreds of missing items over the past year. Today, Phil Austin, the firm’s non-executive chairman, said Ellis’s betrayal was exacerbated because his ebay account was active during a period when the company was forced to shed 30 jobs in March last year.

He said: “People were losing their jobs, while somebody was stealing. It is just wrong.”

Ellis, who had been with the firm for three years, pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates’ Court on July 26, but Mr Austin said his failure to do so immediately had caused the firm further damage.

He added: “I am furious with the guy. It is not just what he did, all he had to do early on was admit it, and he could have saved the business a lot of effort trying to prove it.

“We had to spend vast amounts of resources and time proving something we already knew.

“Unfortunately, he is in jail now, but maybe next time he considers doing something like this, he will remember it.”