Lorry driver jailed for theft of almost 3,000 PS4 Slim games consoles
- Credit: Archant
A lorry driver has been jailed for eight years for his role in the “ambitious and audacious” theft of almost 3,000 PS4 Slim game consoles on their way to the Port of Felixstowe.
Christopher Champion, 41, of St Helens, Merseyside, was sentenced for theft and handling stolen goods at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday May 31.
He was sentenced alongside Robert Ratcliff, 47, of Wraysbury, Berkshire, Darren Brown, 37, of Leigh, Lancashire and Keith Williams, 45, of Bolton, who had all been convicted of handling stolen goods.
A total of 2,970 PS4 consoles, which were yet to be officially released, were stolen - worth an estimated £769,000.
Champion had picked up a container in Wellingborough and was told to travel non-stop to Felixstowe with no diversions.
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Realising his cargo was of high value, Champion put into action a plan to steal them.
Judge David Goodin said: "Having arrived in Felixstowe you faked a puncture on your vehicle to avoid your pre-booked loading slot. This gave you time to get down to somewhere in Essex.
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"There the container was unloaded all but a few boxes and you returned the by now near empty container to the dock.
"You used your technical experience, ability and knowledge to bypass a tachograph in order to disguise your movements."
The court heard Champion had played a "leading role" in the theft and had used 'burner phones' to hide his actions.
Judge Goodin said the theft was only noticed thanks to the port's new security procedures.
"Your container was automatically weighed as it was off-loaded and was vastly underweight," he said.
He said if it had not been for these measures, dock workers or other HGV drivers may have been blamed for the theft instead.
Judge Goodin handed Champion an eight year jail sentence - five and a half years for theft, two years for handling stolen goods and six months for breaching a suspended sentence, to run concurrently.
Radcliff was given three years imprisonment. Brown was jailed for two years, suspended for two years, a 26 week curfew, 35 days rehabilitation activity requirement and 240 hours of unpaid work. Williams also got a two year sentence, suspended for two years, a 26 week curfew, 10 days rehabilitation activity requirement and 180 hours of unpaid work.