Thieving cleaner locked up for latest office raid

The Imperial Hotel in Blackpool where O'Brien had previously struck when he stole �1,000 from a till
The Imperial Hotel in Blackpool where O'Brien had previously struck when he stole �1,000 from a till

A cleaner at an engineering firm helped himself to thousands of pounds of electrical items from his employer, a court has heard,

David Thomas O’Brien, 28, of Crofton Avenue, Bispham, let himself into various offices at the Addison Project based at the Hillhouse Business Park, Thornton, and stole two i-Phones, a camcorder, a laptop, a projector and a golf caddy.

Preston Crown Court heard it is the second time he has been convicted of theft from his employer, after stealing £1,000 from a till at his previous job as a bar assistant at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool. He was jailed for eight months.

Prosecuting, Karen Brooks said O’Brien, who worked for ISS Cleaning Services, had access to the building on the weekend of October 1 to perform cleaning duties.

She said: “He went to the building on the Saturday and while he was there he stole a number of those items

“On Monday all the employees arrived and realised property had been taken.

“There was no damage so it was clear someone had accessed from the inside.”

CCTV footage showed the only person who had access was the defendant. It showed him enter with an empty rucksack and leave with it “bulging”.

Police quickly found some of the goods had been sold for nominal amounts of £30 and £20 to money traders in Fleetwood and Blackpool.

O’Brien confessed to the theft, indicating he had an old drug debt of £2,300 and his family had been threatened.

The court heard he has 15 convictions for 23 offences.

Paul Robinson, defending, said: “It was ill conceived and unsophisticated. He was bound to be caught.”

Judge Philip Parry said: “You may well have assisted in the recovery of some of the items, but £1,100 of stuff, including cash and a very expensive projector are outstanding.

“The fact remains you stole £3,200 of items while you were employed as a cleaner on a Saturday morning.

“Cleaning contractors are trusted to have free rein around the office. You didn’t just wander round communal areas, you obtained keys and entered into private locked offices.

“This wasn’t just a smash and grab as it were.

“Phones contain all sorts of personal information. All manner of upset must have been caused when they realised their phones were in the hands of criminals.”