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Greedy Littlestone man Rupert Ford jailed after being caught on camera stealing silver worth thousands from HV Wooding in Hythe

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Greedy thief Rupert Ford was not content stealing £72,000 of silver ingots from his bosses.

He planned a fake break-in so he and his fellow thieves could escape with another £20,000 worth of the valuable metal.

But the blundering 24-year-old made one huge error when he opened a fire door at the precision engineering premises in Range Road, Hythe.

Hythe thief Rupert Ford has been jailed for 32 months
Hythe thief Rupert Ford has been jailed for 32 months

The employee in charge of the silver left the keys for the thieves... only it was all caught on CCTV.

Now Ford – whose wealthy mother has offered to pay the company HV Wooding compensation for the thefts – has been jailed 32 months.

Ford, of St Nicholas Road, Littlestone, New Romney, pleaded guilty to theft, fraud, burglary and converting criminal property.

Prosecutor Terence Woods told Canterbury Crown Court the thefts were discovered during the botched break-in on June 8 last year.

"There is little mitigation because the reason for these thefts is not unusual - the reason is greed..." - Judge Heather Norton

"Two men were seen on TV and loud speakers were activated which warned them off and the burglary foiled. The stolen items were then recovered from a box near the perimeter fence.

"Police began suspecting that it had been an inside job because the fire door was left open and the keys to stores had been left near a place where burglars would find them."

Mr Woods said Ford was quizzed and denied his part in the raid, but CCTV showed him leaving the keys.

He then admitted stealing £72,000 of silver over 18 months before selling the haul for £36,622 - which he then converted into Premium Bonds.

Chirag Patel, defending, said: "His mother has confirmed she will repay the money and she has considerable investments.

"It's ironic given her wealth that the reason behind his thefts is simple greed. He said it was all too easy to steal the ingots and he then squandered that money.

"He wasn't in financial difficulties and has no drugs or alcohol problems. He was a trusted employee, but he says others were also caught up in what he did – but that he knows what he did was wholly wrong and inexcusable."

Judge Heather Norton
Judge Heather Norton

Ford, who now works in railway maintenance, said he plans to repay his mother.

Mr Patel asked for him not to be jailed because "he would be mixing with far more prolific offenders".

But Judge Heather Norton told him: "There is little mitigation because the reason for these thefts is not unusual - the reason is greed.

"This was a breach of a high degree of trust because you had worked for this company since you left school and were put in charge of the silver."

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