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article imageEating co-worker's biscuits gets employee fired, arrested, fined

By Laura Trowbridge     Mar 22, 2010 in Crime
Night shift worker at Convergys call center in Newcastle, England was fired, then arrested and fined £150 for eating a £6.99 tin of biscuits.
Michael Campbell, technical support worker for the call center, claims he thought the tin of Marks & Spencer selection biscuits he found in the company's office had been bought by the bosses for communal use, so he helped himself to a snack on the night he worked.
The biscuits actually belonged to co-worker Pamela Harrison, who then became quite upset the next work day when she saw her shortbreads had disappeared.
Closed circuit tv footage from the company showed 27-year-old Campbell taking the biscuits. He was arrested and ordered by Newcastle magistrates to repay the cost of the biscuits plus £150 court costs. He was also given a 12-month conditional discharge.
The owner of the biscuits said in a statement to the court: "I'm disappointed that someone who is working as a work colleague finds the need to prowl around people's personal space and take items which, though of low value, can make someone feel insecure."
Campbell first denied the charge of theft but changed his plea to guilty at a hearing last Thursday for his December 9, 2009 offence.
Chairman of the bench Lesley Pyrah told him: "What you did was a breach of trust and there is no excuse for a breach of trust. There is also no excuse for a late guilty plea when you could have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and you didn't."
Campbell's defence lawyer Jeff Smith, said: "When I was doing my training I hardly thought I'd have to appear in a courtroom over something like this. I know you can say that theft is theft, but it is tragic that someone like Mr Campbell should lose his good character over this. He hasn't been before the courts before and he won't be before the courts again in the future."
After the hearing, Campbell spoke of his disbelief at being prosecuted for eating someone's biscuits and getting fired over it. He is in training to become a bar manager now.
He said: "It's totally stupid. £157 for one box of biscuits. I thought they were from the company but they were actually from a person who had brought them in. I work in a pub now where I am trusted with the keys. I am not a dishonest person."
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