PC maker Evesham was relieved to hear that all nine men accused of robbing the company of £171,000 worth of PCs have been found guilty in Worcestershire County Court today.
The theft, which took place late last year, involved the hijacking of a lorry carrying 175 new computers to Evesham's courier's central hub in Birmingham. The lorry, which was operated by the courier company, Amtrak, was seized just 30 minutes after leaving the Evesham loading yard, according to MD Brad Walker.
One of the gang of thieves, an ex-driver for Amtrak, had driven loads for Evesham before and probably used his inside knowledge to plan the heist. But despite this advantage the men weren't criminal masterminds, as the snatched van was captured by CCTV cameras as it was driven through Pershore, Worcestershire. The police were then given a tip off which allowed them to catch the gang unloading their loot.
Charges against the men included conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to steal, but perhaps the most serious crime was that of kidnapping the driver. He was taken with the van and was eventually dumped in Wiltshire. "The driver was pretty shaken up and off work for a couple of months, but he is fine now," explains Evesham's Carolyn Worth.
Following the guilty verdicts the defendants were handed down sentences by Judge Michael Mott, totaling over 99 years between the nine gang members. The 'brains' behind the operation, Terry Cutler was given an 18-year term.
Evesham said that despite the robbery, customers all received their computers on time as the company rebuilt all the systems the week after the theft.
It is still negotiating with the insurance company over compensation. Walker says that although the police did recover all of the stolen kit, by the time it was returned after being held as evidence for four months, it was so out of date it could only be dismantled and used for spares. The insurance company argues that as the PCs were all returned to the company it suffered no loss.