Trio sentenced for major theft in Tarleton
Three local men have been sentenced for their part in a high-value theft which included the sale of Wellington boots.
The trio, who had worked at LS Systems, a horticultural firm in Tarleton, were arrested by officers after suspicious activity was spotted on company accounts in 2014.
David Scott, 53, of Moss Lane, Burscough, Richard Adderley, 32, of Station Road, Preston and Colin Balshaw, 45, of Heathfield Road, Southport, were convicted at hearings this month.
Accountants discovered a number of transactions had been made in previous years, with large sums of money withdrawn. These included:
- Close to £18,000 being transferred to a bank account between November 2007 and May 2008. This account was controlled by David Scott
- Close to £128,000 being transferred to the same account between September 2008 and November 2013.
- A further £600,000 withdrawn to another account under Scott’s control between September 2008 and September 2013. This money was used by the 53-year-old to buy three properties in Bolton, Rossendale and Eccleston.
- More than £99,000 of company monies between April 2013 and April 2014. This money was spent on third party supplies, goods and services for the improvement and development of Scott’s address in Eccleston.
Adderley and Balshaw were implicated in the investigation through the sale of Wellington boots.
Between November 2012 and December 2012, officers discovered Adderley had close to £27,000 of Hunter Wellington boots delivered to an address in New Longton.
The pair, alongside Scott, had bought the footwear using LS Systems accounts then sold the items using the company’s E-Bay profile.
The profits, valued at around £100,000, were then removed from the LS Systems PayPal account and transferred to the accounts of Adderley and Balshaw. It is later believed this cash was handed on to Scott.
Scott, Balshaw and Adderley were arrested and charged with conspiring to steal and removing criminal property. Scott was also charged with theft from employee.
Balshaw and Adderley pleaded guilty, with Scott pleading not guilty and going to trial.
Scott was jailed for seven years and three months on March 2 following a trial at Preston Crown Court.
Balshaw and Adderley were sentenced to 10 months imprisonment suspended for two years and given 200 hours unpaid work at Preston Crown Court on March 12.
Det Con Michael Mason, of Lancashire Police, said: “This was a lengthy and complex investigation into the criminal activities of three men working in positions of trust at LS Systems.
“Scott, who was clearly a controlling and intimidating figure, manipulated the internal systems and stole vast sums of money. Along with Adderley and Balshaw, he purchased Hunter Wellington boots through the company, selling these on E-Bay accounts.
“It is clear to me these men had little interest in the company they worked for and instead sought to maximise the money they could extort.
“I must thank our colleagues at the National Crime Agency who assisted at the start of the enquiry and to various colleagues within Lancashire Constabulary who assisted with this complex and resource intensive investigation.”
Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings have now begun to help recover some of the money which was stolen.