8:00 a.m. March 12, 2022
A 48-year-old man who was paid to move two trailers and their contents worth over £250,000 after they were stolen from an Ipswich warehouse has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Convicting Nicholas Shepherd, recorder Gabrielle Posner admitted he had been paid a fixed £200 fee for moving each trailer and no longer profited from the thefts.
Marc Brown, prosecuting, said the trailer and its contents worth £250,000, which included patio garden furniture, arrived at Sea Transport’s premises on the Ransome industrial estate in February 2019 and that normally the container would have been lifted off the trailer and put on the ground.
However, this did not happen immediately due to a diesel spill and despite instructions that the container should be moved once the spill was cleared, it remained on the trailer.
The trailer and container were later discovered to be missing during an inventory and CCTV showed the trailer was attached to a tractor and being driven away.
Several weeks later in April, a witness saw a trailer belonging to Marxport Ltd being driven from the Ransome Industrial Estate under suspicious circumstances and contacted the police.
Shepherd was arrested by police as he drove the trailer along the A14 towards Cambridgeshire and was found to be over the drinking limit and a disqualified driver.
Mr Brown said it was believed an organized crime gang was behind the robberies and that Shepherd had been paid to carry out a specific task.
Shepherd of Beech Avenue, Wakefield, admitted handling a stolen trailer and its contents worth £250,000 belonging to Sea Transport Ltd, based at Ransomes Industrial Estate in Ipswich, on February 23, 2019.
He also admitted a similar offense on April 7, 2019 relating to a trailer and its contents worth £15,000 belonging to Marxport Ltd.
He was sentenced to 14 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to participate in a reflection program.
He was also given 35 days of rehabilitation activity and ordered to pay £495 in costs.
Steven Dyble for Shepherd said he was given a flat fee of £200 to move each trailer and container from location to location. “It was a limited task under the guidance of others,” he said.
He said that Shepherd was working and that his employer would miss him if he was immediately sentenced to prison.