A manufacturing client of an employment solicitor came to him saying he needed evidence because he believed that scrap metal was being stolen from his company. Clearly the scrap metal had a large value and over a month period the value would be “between” £5000-£10000.
The employer was certain it was happening on a Saturday morning during the overtime shift when the Management Team was away from the factory. It is always a great time to commit your theft, skive from work, breach all sorts of rules and regulations and be away from supervising prying eyes.
This company had CCTV but nobody watched the CCTV as it was old, outdated and the recording was very substandard. You could not see into the company yard due to a large wall and gates which obscured a view inside the yard. There were three large skips for three different types of metal and all of the staff on a weekend shift parked their cars inside the yard. A nice secluded location in which to handpick the scrap metal and load it into your car. This wasn’t any odds and sods of scrap metal this was large sheets of scrap metal and would take a few people to lift it and load it into a vehicle with the seats laid down. How you can get the evidence of that when you can’t get inside the premises?
Expert Investigations Group had the solution. Putting in an observations van in the yard all liveried up with a computer support company logo and the supposed computer technician sat in the server room for a whole day hiding, making out he was updating the servers left the employees free to do their mischief without prying eyes. Except there were prying eyes.
In the van in the rear yard was another member of the observations team that was covertly filming the activity in the yard. We saw two members of staff lay the seats down in an estate car and load six sheets of heavy metal into the rear of the vehicle and across the back seats and cover it up with blankets. Before the end of the shift the vehicle drove off out of the yard with two employees.
Little did they know that they were being followed by a surveillance team that also had a boot full of previously laden metal in their vehicle. They followed the employees to a nearby scrapyard where again they covertly filmed the employees taking the scrap out and getting paid in cash for their wares. The undercover surveillance team took their scrap out of their vehicle and weighed it in for cash also, standing around with the employees covertly recording the transactions.
Once is never enough so we again repeated the exercise for the next two consecutive weeks with exactly the same results with the two employees taking scrap to the scrapyard.
So, the employment solicitor is now armed with the identifying evidence of two employees stealing metal from the skips and cashing in on three occasions at the nearby scrapyard. It is a great position for him as he is now able to go through the process of suspension, investigation and termination of the two employees.
Not only is it cost-effective in the fact that the thieving stops but also sends the right message out to other employees that the thieving will not be tolerated and dishonest employees will be dismissed swiftly from the business.
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