A judge has jailed two “trusted” workers who raided their employer’s safe and stole jewellery worth an estimated £140,000.
Managing director Mike Noble had stored the collection of jewellery and £3,000 cash in a safe at his Brighouse firm RA Technology Ltd.
But last August workers Connor McCaffrey and Jordan Nettleship used a key from his office to steal the contents over a three-day period.
Bradford Crown Court heard how Nettleship put a piece of paper over a CCTV camera, but the pair’s discussions about stealing from the safe and selling on the jewellery were recorded by other surveillance equipment.
Mr Noble said the theft of the uninsured jewellery, which included items of sentimental value, had been “a hammer blow” to him and his wife because the collection, amassed over 36 years, had been intended to be their pension fund.
After their arrests Nettleship, 24, of Park Square, Northowram, Halifax, branded Mr Noble “a compulsive liar” while 21-year-old McCaffrey, of Buxton Street, Lee Mount, Halifax, said the accusation against him was “a joke.”
McCaffrey went on to falsely suggest that their victim had been trying to defraud his insurance company.
Prosecutor Duncan Ritchie said McCaffrey accepted being “up to his eyeballs in debt”, but he denied stealing from the safe.
In March the pair both pleaded guilty to the theft although they still disputed the value of the stolen property.
Mr Noble said in his victim impact statement that the two men, who had previously been unemployed, were an important part of the family business and both enjoyed a position of trust within the firm.
He said in the past both men had been given interest-free loans to help with financial problems and their crime had caused difficulties for the company as well as health problems and sleepless nights for himself and his wife.
Mr Noble said the theft had changed the Halifax couple’s life forever. His wife Jan, who is also a director with the company, lost her engagement and wedding rings in the theft and she described the crime as callous.
She said she would never get over it and never be able to wear her jewellery at future family events.
Judge David Hatton QC said the two men had “utterly abused” the significant amount of trust placed in them. Jailing each of them for 22 months he added: “This offence was so grave and the breach of trust so despicable and the consequences so severe that only an immediate custodial sentence can be appropriate.”
Afterwards, Mr Noble said some of the jewellery stolen included family heirlooms from his mother and his grandmother’s wedding ring which had been altered for Jan when the couple got married.