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Selfridges worker stole posh gear to fund gambling habit; CAUGHT ON CCTV STUFFING CLOTHES DOWN HIS TROUSERS.

Byline: CHARLOTTE COX @ccoxmenmedia

A SELFRIDGES worker stole designer handbags and clothing worth more than PS5,400 to fund a gambling habit.

William Townsend, 19, was working as a stockroom handler when he was rumbled taking pictures of luxury swag in the stockroom of the department store at Exchange Square in Manchester city centre - before uploading them via his work phone to sell on the internet.

He was later seen on CCTV stuffing clothing 'under his coat and down his trousers' to secret them out of the swanky store.

Over the course of a month, Townsend, who walked free from court after admitting theft from an employer, stole items worth PS5,460.

They included a Givenchy top and hooded top; distressed jeans from Balmain; a PS1,375 Celine Nano handbag; a C'est La Vie T-shirt; and T-shirts and hooded tops from Vetements.

Manchester magistrates court heard Townsend began working at Selfridges on the shop floor and stockroom in September 2016.

When his work phone began to clock up 'huge amounts of data', bosses investigated and found he had been using gambling and payday loan sites.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said a further inquiries revealed he was using an online site to sell 'luxury goods', including a PS1,375 handbag advertised with a photograph clearly taken in the Selfridges stock room.

When Townsend, of Tempest Road in Lostock, Bolton, was challenged by bosses, he initially said he'd had no intention of delivering the goods to his online customers.

But he was seen on CCTV footage 'taking items on a regular basis.'.

On arrest, Townsend told police: "I've been taking them, I've been silly."

Speaking to a probation officer, Townsend claimed he initially planned to buy the items using his 35 per cent staff discount and sell them on at a profit. However, after gambling away the cash from one buyer, he turned to stealing.

The following thefts, he told a probation officer, were 'a bit of a blur' as he tried to fund his PS20,000 gambling habit. He hadn't enjoyed working at Selfridges and found his colleagues 'stuck-up', he added.

Ian Cochrane, defending, said his client, who was of previous good character and had made a prompt guilty plea, was seeking help for his gambling problem and that his mother had taken out a loan to pay his debts.

Townsend admitted theft from an employer between September and October 2017. District Judge Sam Goozee handed Townsend a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work. Townsend must pay PS1,000 compensation.


William Townsend and his mum outside court. Inset: Selfridges at Exchange Square

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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:Feb 16, 2018
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