Bricklaying company boss jailed for selling rented boom
The owner of a St Helens bricklaying company has been jailed for eight months for trying sell a boom lift that he had rented, after claiming it had been stolen.
The lift had been rented by Colin Cooper, 27, of St Helens Repointing and Bricklaying Services, on January 9th. He then reported that it had been stolen from his premises. However a couple of days later Cooper offered it for sale on the Gumtree website for £5,600, even though its real value was closer to £16,000.
A prospective buyer came to see the machine but became suspicious over Cooper's reason for selling it, and followed up with a little research, discovering that a £1,000 reward was being offered by the rental company that owned it.
Pleading guilty to theft and attempting to pervert the course of justice, Cooper claimed that the machine delivered was not the one he had ordered, and that "the lift delivered was unsuitable for the work". He explained his crime by saying he "felt let down by the rental company, while finding their customer service to be poor and rude, so he decided to sell the platform in order to annoy them."
Due to damage to the machine, the rental company informed the court that the total cost incurred, including the damage and the reward was £7,278.
While sentencing Judge Andrew Menary said: "This court is well aware that the theft of plant, machinery and materials involved in the construction industry has reached epidemic proportions around the country. There is a very real problem for those working in the industry."
"Those operating building sites know they cannot leave materials or equipment on site because the theft of such items is happening all the time causing very serious financial loss."
"Your explanation that you had been let down by the hire company and found their customer service to be poor and rude and so decided to sell the cherry picker to annoy them is bizarre. Assuming it was true, it doesn't paint a particularly impressive picture of you or your attitudes towards other people's property. However bad their customer service might have been it did not justify your behaviour, I have no doubt that at least part of your motivation was the desire to dishonestly obtain funds by selling the cherry picker. You did not simply abandon it somewhere if your only motivation was to annoy them."