A LORRY driver who stole more than £4,000 worth of goods from employers has been told he could face jail.
Leslie Wilson, 44, of Baddiley Close, Nantwich, stole goods including coffee, sugar and toilet rolls from Tesco over a 23-month period starting in December 2001.
Wilson pleaded guilty to one count of attempted theft and four counts of theft at South Cheshire Magistrates Court last week. He asked that 29 other thefts from Tesco be taken into consideration when deciding his punishment
The court heard that, from December 2001 until his arrest in November 2003, Wilson was employed through driver agency Monarch as an HGV driver and was used by Tesco to transport goods from its Middlewich distribution centre.
Wilson was charged with one attempted theft and four of actual theft when his activities were discovered by a loss prevention manager working for Tesco.
The manager and a colleague, who believed Wilson was stealing goods from the back of his lorry, followed him as he left the Middlewich distribution centre.
He drove the vehicle to a satellite depot at Nat Lane, Winsford, where the wagon was loaded with goods for the Tesco store at Holyhead in North Wales. At 10.20am he pulled-up in a lay-by in Church Minshull where he climbed into the back of the trailer.
It was at that point that the loss prevention manager swooped to ask what Wilson was doing, said prosecutor Jane Large. Wilson claimed he heard a bang and went into the trailer to investigate.
The manager saw there were lots of bin bags filled with coffee and sugar and contacted Cheshire police who arrested Wilson and later searched his home.
Ms Large said: 'The house was full of coffee, toilet tissue and all sorts of things. In total 12 cages of Tesco property was taken from his home.'
Other items taken included Heinz salad cream, tuna steaks, a DVD unit, red wine and six boxes of Quality Street.
Packaging and specific barcodes on the property meant police, working alongside Tesco staff, were able to match up items that came from the store's Middlewich distribution centre.
Ms Large added: 'The police had to do a lot of investigating. They had to line up all these numbers and interview Mr Wilson. He admitted he had been caught.'
Wilson admitted that, on 29 separate occasions from December 2001 to November 2003, he had stolen from his employer Tesco.
Tesco valued the total amount of property stolen as £4,530.
Ms Large explained Tesco had recovered lots of items from the defendant that were unsuitable for resale and applied for £1,081.58 in compensation.
Chairman of the magistrates Hillary Agar said the matter would be dealt with on Friday, May 7, but warned: 'These are serious matters. We are not ruling out imprisonment.'