Trio fleeced employer in Lancashire welly boot scam

Wellies
Wellies

Three men have been sentenced for their part in a high-value theft which included the sale of designer Wellington boots.

David Scott, 53, of Moss Lane, Burscough, Richard Adderley, 32, of Station Road, New Longton, and Colin Balshaw, 45, of Heathfield Road, Southport, worked at LS Systems, a horticultural firm in Tarleton. They were arrested by officers after suspicious activity was spotted on company accounts in 2014.

Accountants discovered a number of transactions had been made in previous years, with large sums of money withdrawn.

An investigation found thousands of pounds had been transferred to accounts under Scott’s control, and that he had bought three properties with some of the cash.

Adderley and Balshaw were implicated in the investigation through the sale of Wellington boots.

Officers discovered Adderley had close to £27,000 of Hunter Wellington boots delivered to an address in New Longton in 2012. The pair, alongside Scott, had bought the footwear using LS Systems accounts then sold the items online using the company’s e-Bay profile. The profits, valued at around £100,000, were then removed from the LS Systems PayPal account and transferred to the accounts of Adderley and Balshaw. It is later believed this cash was handed on to Scott.

Scott, Balshaw and Adderley were arrested and charged with conspiring to steal and removing criminal property. Scott was also charged with theft. Balshaw and Adderley pleaded guilty, while Scott was convicted after trial and jailed for seven years and three months at Preston Crown Court. Balshaw and Adderley were sentenced to 10 months imprisonment suspended for two years and given 200 hours of unpaid work.

Det Con Michael Mason, of Lancashire Police, said: “These men had little interest in the company they worked for and instead sought to maximise the money they could extort.”