Man who stole thousands ‘had DVD obsession’

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A CALL centre manager who stole tens of thousands of pounds from his employers spent it on his ‘obsession’ for DVDs.

Mark Ibberson took just over £67,000 from multi-million pound clothes company, Fat Face.

The 33-year-old worked at the company’s call centre in Havant but for nearly two-and-a-half years he was ripping them off.

When police officers searched Ibberson’s home they found 848 blu-ray discs and DVDs.

Terence Brookes, defending, said some of the money had been spent on alcohol and ‘a virtual obsession to collect DVDs’.

The court heard how Ibberson had first stolen from the company when he needed money to get his boyfriend a birthday present.

‘Quite simply he had no cash in that particular month,’ said Mr Brookes.

‘He succumbed to the temptation.

‘He found himself in the situation that having begun that way it was difficult to stop.

‘He carried on.’

Prosecutor Daniel Sawyer said Ibberson had been working there for about two years when the deceit began.

Ibberson started taking the money in March 2007 and carried on until August 2009, when he was fired by the firm.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how he had used his authority to issue fake customer refunds into his own account.

The fraud came to light only after Fat Face’s bank tipped off the firm to the unusual activity.

But while Ibberson frittered the money away he is now waking up to the first day of a 12-month jail sentence.

In jailing him, Judge Christopher Leigh QC said: ‘You abused that position of considerable trust by granting refunds to your own debit and credit cards and you then destroyed the paper receipts so that Fat Face, your employers, remained unaware of what you were doing.

‘You stole a lot of money over a long period.

‘Under the circumstances it’s quite impossible for me to do anything other than impose an immediate period of imprisonment.’

Ibberson, of Highland Road, Southsea, pleaded guilty to fraud.

Fat Face welcomed yesterday’s sentencing.

The company said it had started civil proceedings against Ibberson in a bid to claw at least some of the cash back from him.

In a statement released by the company’s head of human resources, Mark Seager, said: ‘It is just as disappointing now as it was when we first discovered this incident.

‘However, we are pleased that it has now reached a conclusion and appreciate the support of the police.’

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