Canterbury thief jailed after stealing £70,000 worth of university equipment
Main article content
A former university lecturer who stole more than £70,000 worth of camera equipment in Canterbury has been jailed for 22 months.
William Howe stole from the university in St George’s Place, using the items as security to obtain a loan as well as pawning some for cash.
The 56-year-old, who had worked for the university for 19 years, informed his place of work he was using the Arri camera equipment for various projects during the spring of 2017, but did not sign it out as required.
On Tuesday 11 July that year, Howe, formerly of Pound Lane in Canterbury, used the equipment to secure himself a loan of £8,500, using fraudulent proof of ownership documents. However he never paid back the loan, which meant the stolen equipment was sold on by the loan company.
Requests from students to use the equipment were declined between October 2017 and June 2018 as it wasn’t available. When staff contacted Howe, asking him to return the equipment, he claimed the camera had been damaged and sent back to the manufacturer in Germany for repair. However enquiries revealed the camera had never been sent for repairs but was now registered with new owners.
An audit of camera equipment was carried out, identifying that more equipment had gone missing and evidence was then found when clearing Howes’ former office, that some of it had been pawned.
Howe, of Rodmell (East Sussex) pleaded guilty to the theft by employee at Canterbury Crown Court on 17 December 2020 and was sentenced to 22 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay £5,000 towards his former employers, to cover the cost of insurance excess paid for the stolen equipment.
Inspector Guy Thompson from Canterbury Community Safety Unit said: ‘We work closely with the universities here in Canterbury to ensure the safety and security of students.
‘This was an elaborate series of lies given by Howe, who was in a position of trust. Fortunately the loss was recovered through insurance and I am pleased that Howe will have to pay back the excess as he should be held to account for his dishonesty.’