TWO dairy company managers have been jailed after cashing in metal trolleys worth more than £500,000 for scrap.

Robert Ellis, 66, and Mark English, 43, were employed by Dairy Crest Ltd in Fenstanton, and sold milk trolleys to several scrap yards between January 2008 and May 2010 for about £20,000.

They took the cages to yards in the area, then pocketed the cash instead of paying it into the firm’s accounts. They also sold a number of wooden pallets to a company in Alconbury.

The cost of replacing the trolleys is estimated to be more than £500,000.

When transport manager Ellis, of Cook’s Drove, Earith, retired from the company in June last year, he was given a Scammell articulated lorry by English, the firm’s logistics manager.

He maintained the vintage truck, which had the Dairy Crest livery, taking it to local fetes – but Dairy Crest was unaware of the gift.

English, of Glebe Close, Bluntisham, had been made acting site manager at the company by the time an investigation was launched in December. Both men were arrested and English was suspended by the firm.

Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from an employer. English also admitted theft by an employee in connection with the lorry.

English was jailed at Huntingdon Crown Court on Monday (November 7) for 14 months for conspiracy and nine months for the theft of the lorry, to be served concurrently.

Ellis was sentenced to 12 months.

Detective constable Martin Brocklebank said: “These two men both had positions of trust at Dairy Crest but abused that power to cash in.

“It is quite a sad case as both men had many years’ impeccable service for the company and were highly regarded by their colleagues.

“They breached that trust which cost the company a huge amount of money and ultimately the men their freedom.”