A STANSTED Airport worker who stole property lost by passengers – including a £600 iPhone – was today (Monday, September 9) spared jail by a court.
Jason Cates, 44, of Vicerons Place, Thorley Park, who worked for the “lost and found” unit of the airport, Bagport, was instead put under a 12-month community order by Chelmsford magistrates.
As part of the order he must carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work and pay a £60 victim surcharge and £80 costs.
He pleaded guilty to two offences of theft, involving cigarettes and the iPhone, and to possessing 19.2g of cannabis which was found at his home.
Ian Jackson, mitigating, said that as a result Cates had lost his well-paid job.
Prosecutor Angela Hughes said that Cates’s manager noticed some items had gone missing – mainly cigarettes – and kept vigilant.
On June 21 he saw Cates in one of the cage areas with a bag open. On that occasion he stole cigarettes worth £8.50.
Police were called and he was arrested. During a search of his house officers found in a wardrobe an iPhone stolen two weeks before. They also found the cannabis.
Probation officer David Clayton told the court that there did not appear to be a pattern of behaviour and said that there was a low risk of Cates reoffending.
“The offences were committed out of financial hardship, but he had a moral dilemma and couldn’t sell the iPhone and didn’t know what to do,” said Mr Clayton.
“He’s now a host in a car park at the airport and said he’s going to be quitting his cannabis habit.”
Sentencing Cates, chairman of the bench Fred Tomlin told him: “This was theft and a high degree of trust.”