CHESTERFIELD: IT worker in court for making £10,000 selling council ‘scrap’

From the courts
From the courts

A former county council IT worker must do 150 hours unpaid work after selling computer parts being scrapped by the authority.

The threat of jail also hangs over Ian Holwell, 52, who made £10,000 from the illegal business he operated on eBay.

Recorder Michael Stephens told him: “If the employer says ‘jettison it, put it in landfill and leave it to rot,’ it is for them to decide.

“It is not for you to harvest the parts, sell them and provide an income,” he told Holwell of Upland Rise, Chesterfield who admitted stealing items over two years.

An 18-week prison term, suspended for a year, was imposed on Holwell who must attend a course to help him find work.

Mark Achurch, prosecuting, told Derby Crown Court on Friday, February 15:”The council received a whistle-blowing email from an anonymous source alleging this defendant was stealing the authority’s IT and putting them on eBay.”

Auditors looked at 51 tower computers and laptops, finding 35 had either hard drives or memory devices removed. Holwell took items “marked for disposal” and was suspended on February 9 last year before being dismissed two months later.

When auditors checked his eBay business, they found he had made £18,000 and he accepted £10,000 of that came from the council’s equipment.

Mr Achurch said Holwell had been moved from a job on the help desk to what he “perceived as a lower role in the organisation.”

Sarah Munro, mitigating, said: “What he was stealing had no value whatsoever to the county council. It would to go landfill and destruction and not recycling somewhere else.

“What he was doing was said by one manager to be a ‘jolly good idea’ and was making some money rather than destroying things which could have been salvaged.

“He has profited and the council had not thought of it and in doing it, he has lost his job and his good name.”

She said Holwell, who had never been in trouble before, had debts of £100,000 and his wife had just sold a piece of china. “This month, they will sell furniture. It is tragic, they really have nothing,” added Miss Munro.