Phone thief stole £6,000 in fraud’
RAISE cash or you will go to jail. That was a judge s warning to a Cambridgeshire man who stole £6,000 worth of mobile phones from Phones4U in a nationwide scam. Wayne Loveridge, 28, of Cow Lane, Rampton, appeared at Peterborough Crown Court for sentence
RAISE cash or you will go to jail. That was a judge's warning to a Cambridgeshire man who stole £6,000 worth of mobile phones from Phones4U in a nationwide scam.
Wayne Loveridge, 28, of Cow Lane, Rampton, appeared at Peterborough Crown Court for sentence last Wednesday after pleading guilty to eight counts of theft.
Loveridge admitted entering into a large number of contracts with Phones4U across Cambridgeshire and the rest of England before cancelling them and keeping the handsets. He then sold the phones at car boot sales for as little as £25 each.
The court was told the offences took place in 2003 and 2004 at a time when Loveridge was out of work and claiming benefits.
Defence lawyer Mark Shelley told the judge that Loveridge was always likely to be caught and it was surprising he was able to carry on with the scam for so long.
Mr Shelley said Loveridge's actions "rose out of his being in financial difficulties and the severe eczema of his daughter which required expensive treatment."
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The court heard how Loveridge targeted Phones4U as the company had "lower security standards than other companies".
The total cost to the firm, when taking into account cancelled contracts, was £17,000.
Judge Neil McKittrick told Loveridge: "You committed a pre-meditated, pre-planned fraud."
He added: "I will not put a precise figure on what you must raise (to pay Phones4U) but you should be able to work out what is necessary to avoid immediate imprisonment."
Loveridge will appear before Ipswich Crown Court on July 3 to show the court his progress.