England

Gatwick staff jailed over £2.43m plot to steal airline goods

Police image of 12 people convicted Image copyright Sussex police
Image caption (top left to bottom right) William Webber, George Messenger, Keith Gosling, Pietro Bernone, Christopher Allen, Durrell Corbin, Peter Simmonds, Cezary Kosobudski, Karamjeet Singh, Mindaugas Baranauskas, William Ayling and Alan Hunt.

Fifteen former Gatwick Airport workers have been convicted over a plot to steal electrical goods, cigarettes, alcohol and perfume worth £2.43m.

Sussex Police said the items were stolen from airline catering supplier Gate Gourmet by staff.

The company noticed big stock discrepancies in February 2013.

An internal investigation uncovered large-scale theft and led to raids across south-east England over a five-month period.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Stolen goods worth £2.43m were seized in a police operation

Twelve of the 15 were jailed at Lewes Crown Court on Friday for a total of almost 35 years for conspiracy to steal and money laundering.

Insp Andy Richardson of Sussex Police said: "This was a well-organised operation on a huge scale in which a number of individuals conspired to steal millions of pounds worth of goods from a catering company."

Twelve defendants were jailed:

- Keith Gosling, 58, a factory worker, of Ashurst Way, East Preston (28 months);

- Durrell Corbin, 49, a painter, of Home Close, Brixham, Devon (36 months);

- Cezary Kosobudski, 52, a factory worker, of Cabourne Road, Grimsby, South Humberside (28 months);

- William Webber, 61, an assembler, of Salisbury Road, Crawley (28 months);

- Peter Simmonds, 51, a telecommunications employee, of Montgomery Drive, Bognor Regis (28 months);

- Pietro Bernone, 29, a driver, of Oakapple Close, Crawley (32 months);

- Mindaugas Baranauskas, 36, unemployed, of Denchers Plat, Crawley (43 months);

- George Messenger, 57, an airline employee, of Hobbs Industrial Estate, Lingfield, Surrey (24 months);

- Alan Hunt, 58, a HGV driver, of Titmus Drive, Crawley (24 months);

- Christopher Allen, 55, unemployed, of Lansdowne Way, Angmering (28 months);

- William Ayling, 62, a driver, of Mayo Road, Brighton (28 months);

- Karamjeet Singh, 54, unemployed, of Richmond Road, Gillingham, Kent (48 months).

Three received suspended sentences:

Richard Beaumont, 60, a HGV driver, of Edinburgh Close, Southwater, and Stewart Morris, 54, a driver, of Southwark Close, Crawley, were both convicted of conspiracy to steal but acquitted of money laundering. They were both sentenced to 24 months' prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of community work.

Viktorija Gudonyte, 33, a sales assistant, of Lavington Close, Crawley, was convicted of theft and sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Simmonds, Baranauskas, Hunt, Singh, Beaumont, Morris, Gudonyte had pleaded not guilty. The others admitted the charges.

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