A Yodel manager stole phones worth £24,000 in a bid to pay off a loan shark but was caught when bosses set up spy cameras at her office.
Julie Birchenough borrowed £1,000 from a lender she found in a newspaper advert, but when she was unable to repay the debt straight away, she was forced into a series of crimes.
Minshull Street Crown Court was told that the 56-year-old intercepted the devices at work as they were about to be sent out for distribution and then hid them in her vehicle.
She was busted when officials placed spy cameras at her Oldham office, which captured her stuffing two Huawei phones in a shoebox before taking them outside.
Thirteen other devices worth between £500 and £1,500 were retrieved from her home plus a notebook describing potential steal to orders. It’s deemed a sum of 24 phones were taken.
Inquiries unveiled that Julie Birchenough, who was entrusted with the safety of goods bought by shoppers online, had seriously got into debt with enormous interest repayments after she took out a payday loan to buy herself a car.
She declined to identify the loan shark but insisted she’d been pressured into stealing the phones to pay off her debts.
She’s since fled her home and got work in a fish and chip shop.
Investigators found no proof she’d been selling the phones herself online.
Julie Birchenough, now of Poulton-Le Flyde, Lancashire, admitted theft by employee and was sentenced to 12 months jail suspended for 18 months.
The crimes were detected in August 2019 after she’d been employed by Yodel as a security manageress for ten years.
Prosecutor Harriet Lavin said that her role was to manage the security team and maintain the safety of goods within the site, and she was employed to keep an eye on what people were doing, and there were stringent search regimes, however, the defendant was not subject to that as a security manager.
And in August 2019, another manager was made aware of a significant number of lost packages, and that the losses were high-value mobile phones priced between £500-£1,500.
From further inquiries, it became apparent that those losses had all come from one trailer on the shifts that the defendant was working in when she was managing. So, a secret camera was installed in the defendant’s office where it was reviewed with the defendant seen to be packing a huge amount of mobile phones in packaging before placing them in a cardboard shoebox.
And surely having a role as manager, she must have been smart enough to know that taking out loans from an advertisement in the paper leads to never-ending debt? Not quite what you’d call a criminal mastermind, was she?
She wasn’t pressured into anything – she took that path of crime because of her debt, and all because she wanted to buy a car. Now people have lost out and suffered because of her actions – perhaps she should have brought a bike?
However, these loan sharks prey on the weak, and the APR is just idiotic, but there wasn’t any actual proof that this alleged loan shark ever existed, other than Julie Birchenough’s word and the fact she wouldn’t name her partners in crime, which kind of makes you doubt her version of events unless of course, she was worried that there might be some sort of revenge and that she might be in some kind of danger.
Of course, the moral of the story is, don’t spend what you don’t have!