Man who moved stolen trailers worth £250k escapes jail

Nicholas Shepherd appeared at Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing

Nicholas Shepherd, from Wakefield, was paid to move two trailers and their contents worth more than £250,000 after they were stolen from an Ipswich warehouse. - Credit: Archant

A 48-year-old man who was paid to move two trailers and their contents worth more than £250,000 after they were stolen from an Ipswich warehouse has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Sentencing Nicholas Shepherd, Recorder Gabrielle Posner accepted he’d been paid a fixed fee of £200 for moving each trailer and hadn’t stood to benefit any further from the thefts.

Marc Brown, prosecuting, said the trailer and contents worth £250,000, which included patio garden furniture, had arrived at the premises of Sea Transport on Ransome’s Industrial estate in February 2019 and normally the container would have been lifted off the trailer and put on the ground.

However, this hadn’t happened immediately because of a diesel spillage and despite instructions that the container should be moved when the spillage had been cleared it had remained on the trailer

It was subsequently discovered that the trailer and container were missing during a stocktake and CCTV showed the trailer being attached to a tractor unit and being driven away.

Several weeks later in April a witness saw a trailer belonging to Marxport Ltd being driven away from Ransome’s Industrial Estate in suspicious circumstances and contacted the police.

 Shepherd was stopped by police as he was driving the trailer along the A14 towards Cambridgeshire and he was found to be over the drink drive limit and to be a disqualified driver.

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Mr Brown said it was believed an organised crime gang was behind the thefts and Shepherd had been paid to carry out a specific task.

 Shepherd of Beech Avenue, Wakefield, admitted handling a stolen trailer and contents worth £250,000 belonging to Sea Transport Ltd, which is based at Ransomes Industrial Estate in Ipswich, on February 23 2019.

He also admitted a similar offence on April 7 2019 in relation to a trailer and contents worth £15,000 belonging to Marxport Ltd.

He was given an 14 month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to take part in a Thinking Skills programme.

He was also given a 35 day rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay £495 costs.

Steven Dyble for Shepherd said he had been paid a fixed sum of £200 for moving each trailer and container from one place to another. “It was a limited task under the direction of others,” he said.

He said Shepherd was in work and would be missed by his employer if he received an immediate prison sentence.