A STEELWORKER who conspired with two other men to steal a seven-tonne ingot worth £75,000 has avoided jail.
Martin Trueman (36), of Ardron Walk, Rawmarsh, admitted conspiracy to steal last Monday - the day his trial was due to start at Doncaster Crown Court.
Trueman (pictured above, leaving the court) helped his accomplices, who have not been identified, to steal the expensive nickel alloy from his workplace at Barrett Steel Engineering in Chesterton Road, Eastwood, where he had worked for nine years.
The father-of-two, who was responsible for the maintenance of the firm’s cranes, was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
Recorder Darren Preston told him: "Throughout these proceedings you have denied your criminality in the face of overwhelming evidence.
“Finally, today you have seen sense.”
He said Trueman had been “ridiculous and stupid” to use his work phone to communicate with the men, adding: “You allowed yourself to be used and you went along with it.”
Mr Preston said he would suspend the sentence as the “sophisticated nature” of the offence was in the hands of two others and because Trueman had found a new job and his family would suffer if he was jailed.
CCTV showed that the theft happened between 5.37pm and 5.41pm on October 7, 2016.
Ms Nicola Quinney, prosecuting, said two men had gone into the yard and loaded the ingot onto a truck, which had cloned number plates.
Two warehouse workers said during an internal investigation that they had been at work on the day of the theft with the defendant, who had ordered them to do some training with him at 5.30pm.
Ms Quinney said this meant one of the workers had to leave the area where the ingot was stored.
“The standard procedure would be to shut the doors, but they couldn’t because a cherry picker had been left in the way,” she said.
“The worker asked the defendant to move the cherry picker, but the defendant said he couldn’t move it as there was something wrong with it, so the roller doors were left open.”
Trueman moved the cherry picker after the training ended.
Call records on Trueman’s work mobile phone showed he had been in contact with an unregistered number.
On the day of the offence he had texted the number at 5.33pm, phoned it at 6.10pm and received a call from it at 7.40pm.
Ms Quinney said this had been Trueman “making arrangements and saying the coast was clear”.
Contact between the numbers stopped a week after the theft, the court heard.
Trueman, who was dismissed by Barrett Steel following the investigation, gave a no-comment interview to police last March.
He claimed he had been approached by two men while sitting in a works van in a cafe car park and they had asked him information about his employers.
The metal worker claimed the men had followed him for two months.
He said that on the day of the offence, he “must have let them know where the alloy was” and accepted that he had sent them a message.
Trueman, who now works for Technical Cranes in Holmes, said he was remorseful and wished he had contacted the police.