A STOCKROOM worker stole high-end mobile phones worth more than £6,000 after getting into debt.
Craig Bartlett concealed the phones he took from the stockroom at Argos and threw away the packaging wrapped in loo paper in the staff toilet bin.
You have before you an extremely stupid young manCraig Bartlett’s defence lawyer Damian Hayes
Portsmouth Crown Court heard a manager discovered the shop in Wellington Retail Park, Waterlooville, was down on stock and investigated.
Bartlet, 20, of Rowan Road, Havant, denied taking the phones but covert CCTV installed in the room showed he was taking them. He later pleaded guilty to the theft between July 1 and 21 when he appeared in court.
Prosecutor Martyn Booth said the phones stolen included the Apple iPhone 5.
Mr Booth said: ‘He initially said he needed the money as he was in debt by a couple of hundred pounds.
‘He said he continued because he wasn’t getting caught.
‘Initially he’d put them on Gumtree but didn’t drum up much interest and then took them to a store in Havant and Fareham and sold them.
‘He was asked how much he sold the phones for – he said on average £300 a pop.’
It was put to him after taking 13 phones he would have netted £3,000.
‘He said he didn’t think he received that much so he thinks he may have been selling them for a bit less than £300,’ Mr Booth added.
Bartlett has no previous convictions, Mr Booth said.
The staff morale at the store had been hit, the court heard.
Damian Hayes, defending, said Bartlett was actually in ‘significant debt’ for a person of his age.
Mr Hayes told police he was a couple of hundred pounds in debt – but told probation it was £1,500.
But Mr Hayes said Bartlett finally realised he was actually in £2,500 worth of debt.
He told the judge: ‘You have before you an extremely stupid young man who has thrown away his good name.’
He added: ‘The offending occurred over a relatively short period of time, a little over two weeks. Whilst it must have been unpleasant for those working around him it’s not the case where he tried to pass the blame on to others.’
Mr Hayes added Bartlett has now expressed remorse and regret.
Recorder Michael Norman handed the junior assistant stockist a community order with 200 hours unpaid work.
He must pay a £900 criminal courts charge and £200 prosecution costs.