‘Inside employee’ in Ipswich grain terminal fraud gets suspended jail sentence

The Grain Terminal in Ipswich.

The Grain Terminal in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man who was the “inside employee” in a £37,000 fraud at an Ipswich grain terminal has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Geoffrey Bak, 44, of Blyth Row, Woodbridge, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to conspiracy to commit fraud by falsely claiming to the Grain Terminal (Ipswich) Ltd that two vehicles had attended the terminal to deliver grain on numerous occasions when only one vehicle had done so.

Also before the court were hauliers Robert Cooper, 65, of Hawkspur Road, Little Sampford, Essex, and John Cooper, 43, of Hawkspur Green, Little Bardfield, Essex. Both admitted the same charge. Sentencing the men, Judge Martyn Levett said that false weighbridge tickets had been created during the fraud.

He said that Bak, a father-of-five, was “vital” to the fraud, and that the Coopers had brought the family name into disrepute.

He gave the three men a 20-month prison sentence each, all suspended for two years, ordered them to each pay £12,000 compensation and to do 200 hours’ unpaid work in the community.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, said a deficit in the amount of grain at the terminal was noticed in July 2014.

He said the case against the men was the result of a large investigation involving tachograph records and cell site and Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera evidence.

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He said one of the reasons for the two-year delay in the case coming to court was because Bak, who he described as an “inside employee”, was seriously ill in February.

Mr Gair told the court the Coopers had no previous convictions and Bak’s last conviction was 17 years ago.

Andrew Thompson, for Bak, said the fraud was confined to eight days between January 31 and March 12, 2014.

He said Bak had resigned from the company before the fraud was discovered.

He accepted what Bak had done was a significant breach of trust and without him the fraud wouldn’t have been possible.

He said if Bak was sent to prison he would lose his present job as a stock controller.

Matthew Gowen, for Robert and John Cooper, said the charge his clients had admitted covered eight journeys over a six-week period.

He said both men had worked for the family business for many years.