Police mechanic gets suspended prison sentence for theft

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The judge ruled that Brian Milne’s actions represented a breach of trust

A police mechanic from Northern Ireland has avoided a prison sentence after admitting stealing several items from his workplace totalling £3,782.

Brian Milne from Derrygonnelly worked in the Motor Transport Department at PSNI Enniskillen for around 30 years, where he was responsible for the servicing and maintenance of police vehicles.

Investigations led to a search of his home where tyres, shock absorbers, a pressure washer, oil sprays and other car parts were discovered.

Prosecution counsel Simon Reid said: “The loss to PSNI was £3,782. It’s not so much the value of the thefts which brought this to the court, but the breach of trust aspect.”

Brian Milne’s defence barrister said his client was under “great strain due to excessive responsibilities of financial pressures” after he and his wife started building a new family home.

“They got themselves into significant debt, through no fault of their own. The defendant was under significant financial strain and still is. It is accepted culpability is high as is the breach of trust but the motivation was not to contribute to any sort of opulent or lavish lifestyle but to cut a few corners to make ends meet.”

Judge Brian Sherrard said: “This represents an appalling breach of trust against your employer. You appeared to have adopted the view that some of the items taken were scrap or indeed it was simply common case for items to be taken.

“It’s clear the thefts were at least in part to meet a deterioration in your own finances. Some items ended up being sold while others lay in your garage for years.

“I’m mindful this represents a huge fall from grace. It seems likely these offences came at a time of immense stress both economically and in your family life … However, any theft such as this has an impact on the public purse and public confidence.”

Milne was given a 10-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay the full amount in compensation.

Source: Fermanagh Herald

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