A raid on a high street shop was faked by an indebted employee, magistrates at Chester Crown Court have heard.
One night last October, four masked men burst into the clothes store in Northwich. They held sales manager Mark Capewell at knife point, slashing his cheek and stealing £27,000 from a safe.
However, it soon emerged that Capewell not only knew the criminals, but was in fact the mastermind behind the entire plot. The haul was intended to help him pay off mounting debts owed to loan sharks, belfasttelegraph.co.uk reports. The incident was reported to the police, but Capewell's co-conspirators confessed.
Capewell, a former RAF Policeman who served in Iraq, paid Dean Stanway, Wayne Seadon, Anthony Adey and an unnamed 15-year old to assume different roles in his scheme. As a sales manager, Capewell knew security codes and had unlocked the safe in advance, allowing easy access to the cash inside.
With such a large amount of money kept in the safe overnight, the incident surely highlights the importance of regular secure cash collections in minimising the risks of theft.
CCTV captured Capewell arriving with the 15-year old, a holdall being stuffed with money and the 'burglars' driving off with 'roughed up' Capewell in tow. In court, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Capewell's defence, Aris Hussain, asserted that his client had "severe financial difficulties".
"Given the pressure being applied to him [by loan sharks]," Hussain told thisisstaffordshire.co.uk, "in the interest of addressing these matters properly, he foolishly came up with this idea of doing what he has done."