West Hampstead police worker avoids jail for stealing court exhibits
15:42 14 May 2012
A West Hampstead police worker and his wife have escaped jail after selling iPods, mobile phones and SatNavs stolen from Scotland Yard, a court heard.
For three years Stephen Bowers, 56, grabbed the items - some of which were exhibits used in court cases - when he was working in the stores at Scotland Yard, Southwark Crown Court heard
His wife Elizabeth, 63, admitted she had handled the loot at their marital home in Agamemnon Road and more than £34,000 in cash was found during a raid of the couple’s home.
Police also recovered a hoard of mobiles and iPods worth £2,500.
The items would have been auctioned or disposed of had Bowers not smuggled them home.
He then sold or gave them to friends at a local pub.
Sarah Kerslake, representing Mr Bowers, said he had shown “genuine remorse” for the crime and written a personal letter to the judge.
Bowers, who received a certificate for long service from the Metropolitan Police in 1995, had been depressed at the time and since resigned, the court heard.
Ms Kerslake claimed the couple had not been living a “lavish” lifestyle on the proceeds and said many of the items had remained at the marital home for lengthy periods of time.
She said: “He finds himself before you, his life utterly in ruins. He accepts it is nobody’s fault except his own. He is remorseful his working life will end in this way.”
Judge David Higgins described the thefts as “utterly deplorable and deeply anti-social” but said there was a “tragic quality about the case”.
He added: “You Stephen Bowers stole the goods from the Metropolitan Police by whom you were employed, and in doing so you were in the grossest breach of trust.
“You Elizabeth handled the goods in that you allowed them to be kept in the marital home.
“If you choose to stoop to serious crime, I’m afraid you must accept the consequences.”
Bowers was given a six-month suspended sentence and his wife was sentenced to four months, also suspended for two years, at Southwark Crown Court on Friday (May 11).
Bowers was also ordered to carry out 220 hours community service and his wife was given 150 hours.
An estimated £15,000 proceeds were forfeited along with the stolen goods.
Mr Bowers admitted theft while his wife admitted handling stolen goods.
They denied possessing criminal property in December last year and that charge was left on the court file.