A contractor who stole vital pieces of equipment from the energy plant where he was working has been described as greedy by a judge.

Scott Scollay was caught on CCTV on the Cheshire site loading the specialist valves into his van on five occasions before driving away from the scene.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the Bioenergy Infrastructure site had been beset by ‘thievery’ costing the company more than £450,000 in delays when essential equipment went missing during the multi-million-pound project.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, said the 37 stolen items were worth £2673.23 to the company but they were specialist pieces of equipment.

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He said: “The upgrade of the plant was delayed for three days and the loss to the company was £450,000. This can not be attributed to the defendant but he did contribute to it.

“He heard that the metal was valuable, so he helped himself to it and intended to weigh it in at some scrap metal dealer.”

Mr Soppitt said the company carried out a search of the CCTV on the site at waste energy plant near Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, and Scollay was spotted stealing items on five occasions.

When police arrived at his home the defendant handed over some of the stolen items and accepted responsibility for the thefts, he added.

Scollay, of Sycamore Crescent, Teesville, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to theft by employee between November 20 and 25, 2022.

John Nixon, mitigating, said his 34-year-old client had behaved completely ‘out of character’ when he carried out the thefts and immediately returned the items he had taken.

Judge Anthony James Brown sentenced the defendant to 16 months in custody suspended for two years.

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He said: “For reasons no more sophisticated than pure greed, you decided to help yourself to property belonging to the company. The effect of this thievery, and others, caused the company to lose money.

“If the courts don’t take this thievery seriously the sort of behaviour would be rife.

“By behaving in the manner you did, you caused an awful lot of grief here, not just for you but for your entire family.”

Scollay was ordered to attend 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days, carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and to pay £2,700 in compensation to the firm.