A “frustrated” former internal theft investigator at Amazon in Fife has admitted plundering thousands of pounds worth of goods – and then binning them.
Grandmother Gwen Ferguson spent years working in the high-value returns department at the Amazon depot in Dunfermline.
However, after falling out with colleagues at work, the 57-year-old began to pilfer mobile phones and smart watches on the job – just to dump them in a Glenrothes bin.
Ferguson, of Sauchie Street in Kinglassie, admitted that between February and September last year, she stole the items while in the course of her employment.
She will be sentenced in the new year after meeting with social workers.
Loot never recovered
Fiscal depute Ronnie Hay told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court Ferguson had spent years working at the retail giant’s Fife centre.
This included, latterly, in the high value returns team.
While on shift on November 10 last year, an open mobile phone box was spotted where the team work.
The Samsung Galaxy phone which should have been inside was missing.
A data check was carried out and CCTV was reviewed, which sparked a deeper investigation.
In total, Ferguson helped herself to five devices, with a total value of around £5,000.
‘Frustrated’ at work
Solicitor Calum Harris said his client’s role had been to prevent thefts from occurring within the warehouse.
Mr Harris said: “She does regret her activity – she puts it down to frustration.
“Her role within the high value returns department, or one part of her role at least, was trying to investigate potential thefts from that department.
“She had been involved in this for a number of years… and became frustrated and fell out with other members of staff and as a result has acted in the way she has.
“(It was) not out of spite so much as frustration.
“It wasn’t done out of necessity.
“The ultimate end for the phones, in her reply to caution and charge, was that she disposed of them in a bin in Glenrothes.
“It’s an unusual position and one she regrets, not only as a mother but a grandmother.”
Tarred with bigger brush
The court heard Amazon initially pinned the blame on Ferguson for £130,000 worth of thefts, although CCTV disproved this.
Mr Harris said this allegation was “astronomical in comparison” and that Amazon had initially blamed his client for every theft over that time period.
“CCTV was not in the terms it was purported to be to police.
“She is still in full-time employment – clearly not with Amazon.
“I suspect a financial penalty would not be sufficient.”
Mr Harris added his client had suffered a “significant dip” in her mental health and high blood pressure since proceedings began.
Ferguson, who now works in a warehouse which manufactures electric car parts in Lochgelly, had her bail continued.
She will be sentenced on January 5 after reports are prepared.
Sheriff Robert More said: “I find this quite unusual.
“I’m going to get more information on Ms Ferguson.”