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Canterbury house clearer from maintenance firm Mears took items from home to sell on eBay

By Lowri Stafford

A workman trusted to clear out houses after people have died has been caught stealing possessions - and selling them on eBay.

The employee of housing repairs and maintenance company Mears was sacked for helping himself to items in properties he was working on.

The national firm has the Canterbury City Council contract for making empty houses liveable and carrying out repairs and maintenance on social housing in Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay.

Items taken from a Canterbury house clearance were put on eBay

But one rogue member of staff was caught plundering items during a garage clearance, which then ended up on the online auction site.

Police were brought in to investigate and the culprit was later dismissed.

The breach is one of several serious allegations recently investigated by Mears.

The claims include drug-taking by workmen in empty properties, routine thefts from former residents of money, televisions and jewellery, and fixtures and fittings being bought on the company's time and then sold on.

The firm insists the claims have been fully investigated and the majority of them were unfounded.

A Mears van parked incorrectly in a disabled bay in Hudson Road, Canterbury

Executive director Alan Long said: "Mears has robust procedures that identify and act on instances of malpractice. These issues, all of which were originally raised some time ago, have already been fully investigated.

"The majority of the allegations were without foundation, and Mears took the appropriate action where necessary.

"We are satisfied that those responsible for any wrongdoing are no longer with the company."

Canterbury City Council pays Mears to carry out adaptations, repairs, redecorations, lift maintenance and cleaning in buildings across the district.

Council assistant director Janice McGuinness said: "These were very serious matters and we are satisfied that investigations were carried out by Mears as soon as they became aware of allegations and that the appropriate actions have been taken."

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