Council worker in court for computer parts theft

James Wallbank . with some of the computer equipment that  is recycled by Access Space/Redundant Technology ,Sidney Street. 26 January 2001
James Wallbank . with some of the computer equipment that is recycled by Access Space/Redundant Technology ,Sidney Street. 26 January 2001

A council worker was sacked for selling scrap computer parts but one manager felt his enterprise was a “jolly good idea,” a court heard.

The comment was made after county council auditors were called in to investigate the eBay sales operation of Ian Holwell, who worked in its IT department at County Hall, Matlock.

He admitted making £10,000 by selling computer parts “marked for disposal” and was ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid community work.

Holwell, 52, who had never been in trouble before, was also given a 18-week prison term, suspended for a year.

Recorder Michael Stephens told him: “If the employer says ‘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, who admitted stealing items over two years.

Mark Achurch, prosecuting, told Derby Crown Court yesterday: “The council received a whistle-blowing e-mail from an anonymous source alleging this defendant was stealing and putting items 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 that £10,000 of that had come from council equipment.