Romford biscuit thief spared jail

A HANDYMAN from Romford who helped himself to groceries worth �24 from a care home kitchen was spared jail today (Friday November 19) after a trial costing taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds.

Jeffery Dainty, 61, stuffed biscuits, including custard creams and digestives, Typhoo tea bags, coffee sachets and Rice Krispies into a bin liner at St Ives Lodge in Chingford, east London.

Dainty, of Pettits Boulevard, who was employed as the maintenance man at the home, then made for his car but dumped the bag in a bin when he was confronted by a manager.

He denied any wrongdoing and claimed to have been taking out the rubbish but jurors at Snaresbrook Crown Court last month convicted Dainty after a two-day trial.

His trial is estimated to have cost at least �60,000.

Judge Neil Sanders handed Dainty 60 hours’ unpaid work and ordered he pay just �2,000 towards the prosecution costs.

“I take into account that it was a relatively low value of items of �24,” the judge said.

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“However, you were employed at the premises and there is an element of breach of trust.

“I am going to order you pay �2,000 towards the prosecution costs.

“That element of costs is not a punishment in this case.

“The punishment is the unpaid work.

“You have incurred [the costs] as a result of contesting the case.”

The trial heard Dainty struck on January 4 this year and was immediately suspended from his job before being sacked after a disciplinary hearing.

His position was advertised by the home just two days after the theft, the court heard.

Prosecutor Jai Patel had told jurors: “The property in question is food items - to be exact, biscuits, tea bags and coffee - all together coming to some �23.99.

“That might not sound like a lot of money to a lot of people but that does not make it a trivial case.”

A duty manager spotted Dainty dashing to his motor with the bin liner and followed him.

Prosecutors said Dainty only disposed of the bin bag after his theft was rumbled.

Managers at the home also found pink wafer biscuits and fig rolls in the bin liner taken by Dainty, the court heard.

Dainty claimed there had been a culture of suspicion at St Ives Lodge that staff were stealing food.

“It was a bag of rubbish as far as I was concerned,” he said.

He said he had been short-changed by the management after providing light bulbs, a gazebo and a metal ledge for a fridge for the home, all free of charge.

Dainty was convicted of theft.