Romford man convicted of �24 theft in trial costing tens of thousands of pounds

A HANDYMAN from Romford who helped himself to groceries worth �24 from a care home has been convicted after a trial costing taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds.

Jeffery Dainty, 61, from Pettits Boulevard, 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, 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 convicted Dainty after a two-day trial.

Crown court trial can cost as much as �30,000 a day.

Judge Neil Sanders ordered reports and bailed Dainty until November 19 but warned he faced a community order including unpaid work for the ‘breach of trust’.

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

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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.

He said a cook working in the kitchen had told him: “It’s usually us who get accused of stealing.”

Dainty said he had believed the bin liner contained rubbish and he dumped the bag in bins as part of his normal duties.

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

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.

“The only invoice I ever made was for some light bulbs,” said Dainty.

“Did you get paid back?”, asked his barrister Justin Stuart-Mills.

“No,” said Dainty.

Dainty was convicted of theft.