Published: 09:47, 04 September 2018
| Updated: 10:01, 04 September 2018
A gambling addict who made over £80,000 from selling his employer’s unwanted car accessories on eBay has been spared jail after a judge said she was going to “take a risk” with him.
Robin Lambkin even organised a courier to pick up the parts from Gefco auto body shop in Brielle Way, Sheerness, over a period of almost five years.
Judge Heather Baucher told the 37-year-old father, of William Rigby Drive, Minster: “This went on for years. It would still have been going on if an organisation employed to look at the accounts hadn’t found out what was going on.
“It matters not what your employers were going to do with them.”
Lambkin wept after the judge said she would suspend 18 months imprisonment for two years and impose 300 hours unpaid work to “pay your debt to society”.
Prosecutor John Oliver said the various alloy wheels, spoilers, trims and bumper bars were surplus to requirements and usually scrapped.
Lambkin was said to have worked in an administrative role, although the judge complained she had not been told what his exact position was.
He had access to stock and took out smaller items in his rucksack and larger parts using couriers. He sold them on eBay using accounts registered in his name and that of his wife.
“Over the course of four years and nine months of taking them and selling them, he made a total of £80,689,” said Mr Oliver.
“He said the money was used to fund his gambling addiction.
"He clearly had a routine of getting the items out of the premises...” - prosecutor John Oliver
“There was an investigation and he was ultimately dismissed. It is clear there was planning involved over a protracted period.
"He clearly had a routine of getting the items out of the premises.”
Judge Baucher said at an earlier hearing: “Here is a man who is plainly using eBay - £20,000 net a year. We are talking a massive amount of money, all from a little internet exercise.
"It brings eBay’s reputation into disrepute.
“He has been running a business. He has managed to secure £80,000 for these goods which he says are worthless. That’s why it is amazing, isn’t it?
“If the defendant’s right, he is a bit of an entrepreneur isn’t he, because he has managed to get those goods and get £80,000 for them.”
Fiona Robertson, defending, said on Thursday there were many mitigating features, including remorse, his guilty plea to theft and that it was out of character.
“He is ashamed of his actions,” said Miss Robinson. He is family orientated and hardworking. A previous employer speaks highly of him. He has obtained new employment.
“He has excluded himself from all local bookmakers and online. This matter was funding his gambling addiction.
“There is recognition he is not a bad man who was selling out of greed, but to fund his addiction..." - Fiona Robertson, defending
“There is recognition he is not a bad man who was selling out of greed, but to fund his addiction. He has a two-year-old child. Without his income they will not make ends meet.
“While the value is high, there has not, in fact, been any loss to the company. His compensation offer stands.”
Judge Baucher told Lambkin: “You were able to get access to parts over a sustained period of four years and nine months, running around with your rucksack and taking them from your employers.
“I am told it was to fund your gambling addiction, which you did nothing about until you were interviewed about these matters. You suddenly decided to take it upon yourself to rush off and get counselling to address your problem.
“Your counsel has sought to persuade me it was not a high degree of trust. Well, I am satisfied it was.
“Testimonials speak of your many good qualities – pleasant, hardworking, good family man. But those who appear before the courts have two sides – one they show to people they know and one they hide.”
But the judge added: “I have decided I am going to take a risk in relation to you. I am giving you a chance. I make it clear you are very fortunate that the gentleman next to you is not taking you through that door (to the cells).”
Lambkin was ordered to pay £425 costs.
A proceeds of crime hearing will be held in December to determine the amount Lambkin had benefited by and to assess his assets.