A former Dundee City Council supervisor who stole thousands of pounds worth of life-saving equipment to help clear his gambling debts has narrowly avoided a jail term.
Iain Gardyne flogged council-owned smoke alarms and sensors on eBay after stealing multiple items from the contract services department between October 28 2015 and June 26 2019.
The 55-year-old resigned from his role as an electrical supervisor in September 2019 after bosses were tipped-off to his activities.
Gardyne, who previously pleaded guilty at Dundee Sheriff Court, has now been placed on an electronic tag for the next eight months as an alternative to custody.
Sheriff George Way told Gardyne: “You appreciate this type of breach of trust has to be quite seriously censured.
“Were you not a first offender, were you not trying to redeem yourself then you would have undoubtedly been imprisoned.”
In total, Gardyne stole more than 200 different items. It was revealed how at one point, Gardyne racked up gambling debts amounting to £65,000.
The department where Gardyne was employed has been at the centre of a major corporate fraud investigation after a contract to provide heat, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors was awarded to Edmundson Electrical without ever going out to tender.
Edmundson Electrical began supplying the devices to the council in April 2019 after the Scottish Government ordered authorities to improve safety in the wake of the 2017 Grenfell fire.
The alarms were stored at a shipping container at the contract services department. Replaced alarms would be sold back to Edmundson Electrical for £6.50 with the court hearing that older alarms removed from council homes still had a substantial battery and warranty life.
Fiscal depute Carol Doherty revealed how the council lost almost £8,000 as a result of Gardyne’s thefts.
She told the court how a fraud investigation was launched after the council were alerted to Gardyne’s eBay account by a DC Thomson reporter in July 2019.
An investigation by the reporter exposed the account, which was brought to the council’s attention when he contacted the communications department.
Gardyne provided “vague” answers to a fraud investigator who attended his workplace.
“The witness attended and found the accused had a key,” Ms Doherty said.
“The accused was vague when answering, saying he left the key on his desk for everyone to use. The accused was suspended from duty on August 15 2019 and resigned on September 4 2019.
“On August 28 2019, police spoke to the accused. He confirmed his eBay account was the one mentioned.
“He stated that he had a gambling addiction and 10 years ago, the debt amounted to £65,000.”
Gardyne told officers that he had initially taken smoke alarms that had been removed from council houses but went on to sell newer stock.
The total value of the items stolen was given as £7,945.20, based on the cost per unit to Dundee City Council, excluding VAT.
Gardyne, of Smithy House, Auchterhouse, pleaded guilty at Dundee Sheriff Court to stealing the items on various occasions at the council’s contract services department on Clepington Road.
He since gone on to set up his own business, IG Electrical, carrying out domestic, commercial and industrial work around Dundee and Angus.
Jim Laverty, defending, said: “He understands this is a serious matter involving a breach of trust.
“He resigned from his job. It was a case of him jumping before he was pushed. He cooperated fully with Dundee City Council and provided information which was of substantial use in relation to other organisations.
“He is genuinely remorseful and has acted in a way which was completely out of character. He had seen an opportunity which, regrettably, he took at a significant time in his life where he was not thinking straight.”
As a direct alternative to custody, Gardyne was placed on a restriction of liberty order keeping him indoors between 8pm and 7am for eight months.
Sheriff Way added: “Breach that order and be clear, there are no other safety nets.”