A delivery driver who faked his own kidnapping so he could steal hundreds of potential Christmas presents has been jailed for 32 weeks.
Mark Pennington, 23, also known as Daryl, wasted more than 100 hours of police officers’ time when he stole 205 parcels from his van – then blamed the theft on two mystery men.
Packages containing games consoles, Kindles and electrical goods went missing, and an ambulance attended the scene in Mawdesley near Chorley to help the supposedly “shaken” driver.
But when questioned by detectives Pennington, of Wigan, buckled under the pressure and admitted he had planned the incident with the help of an as yet unknown accomplice.
Judge Graham Knowles, sentencing at Preston Crown Court, said: “There was, as you knew, bound to be hundreds of victims because of the nature of the business, as the goods were mainly things people had ordered on the internet, going to their homes. Two hundred and five parcels were stolen and have never been recovered.
“It has only been possible to identify the contents of 100 and they were worth just short of £6,500.
WIt seems reasonable to assume the total value was in the region of £13,000.
“This may have caused people not to be able to give presents. You did it for easy money out of sheer greed.”
Pennington, who had three previous convictions for six offences, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and theft. Judge Knowles added: “You had planned in order to cover up the theft a bogus tale of a dramatic robbery and you acted out a part to a member of the public and then the police and lied to them.
“More than 100 hours of police time were wasted. An officer was taken off a rape inquiry and the only dog handler in the county was dispatched.
“A senior investigating officer was deployed, such was the gravity of this invented offence.”