Mendlesham man sentenced for theft of computers from hospital

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A man from Mendlesham who was involved in the theft and disposal of hundreds of computers from a hospital has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Graham Sherlock, 62, of Mendlesham Green, had pleaded guilty to theft of computer equipment valued at £17,500 and converting stolen computer equipment into money.

Yesterday, Sherlock and three other men were sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court for their roles in the crime.

The court heard how Sherlock had worked in the hospital’s IT department where he was responsible for equipment that was to be scrapped or sent for recycling.

He was arrested when it was discovered that he had kept items and sold them on eBay after carrying out repairs.

Prosecuting, Simon Gladwell said the thefts, also carried out by a second defendant Andrew Leacock, were uncovered during an audit.

Fifty two laptops, 378 desktop computers and 70 iPads were taken from Ipswich Hospital between 2011 and 2013.

The court heard that the stolen computer equipment was valued at £188,000 and had been intended to help staff at the hospital improve efficiency at the Heath Road site.

All the stolen equipment, which also included keyboards and monitors, belonged to Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust.

Sentencing Sherlock, Mr Recorder Ian Evans said that because of the seriousness of the offending, the loss of public funds and the breach of trust involved, prison sentences, some suspended, were the only realistic option.

Sherlock was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid community work.

Mr Recorder Evans told Sherlock that he would have to hand over £17,500 to the court, representing the amount by which he benefited from his crimes. Of that, £6,910 will be used to compensate the hospital.

Shane Dawson, 33, of Surbiton Road, Ipswich, received 18 months imprisonment suspended for one year with £250 hours community work; Andrew Leacock, 50, of Diamond Close, Ipswich, was jailed for three years and three months and Philip Goldsmith, 44, of Tuddenham Avenue, Ipswich, received 14 months suspended for 12 months with 250 hours work.