Man Avoids Jail After £60,000 Pipes Heist to Pay Off Gambling Debt

  • McGregor gambled his entire month's wages in one go at a bookmaker
  • He stole the metal pipes from his workplace and sold them as scrap
  • The employer was able to claim the stolen goods on insurance
  • The accused was not jailed but ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work 
A supervisor from Scotland sold his employer’s metal for scrap so he could pay his gambling debts.

Debts didn’t pay off

Steven McGregor has avoided jail after stealing pipes from his employer to pay off debts. In his defense, he claimed he stole tons of metal pipework after getting into financial difficulty due to a gambling problem.

It emerged that during one particular visit to a bookmaker, McGregor lost a whole month’s wages in one go. It was this incident that led him to turn to criminal activity to try to pay off his debt.

Pipes sold as scrap metal

The Scottish 36-year-old from Aberdeen, who is a supervisor at the Peterson UK yard in Edzell, had £60,000 ($73,000) worth of steel pipes and tubes lifted from his place of work. The piping was then loaded into a lorry and transported to Aberdeen to be sold as scrap metal, with McGregor making thousands of pounds each time.

The incidents, which the accused later admitted to, took place on four occasions between November 2015 and April 2016.

McGregor had £60,000 ($73,000) worth of steel pipes and tubes lifted from his place of work.

McGregor began to gamble his earnings at a fixed-odds betting terminal, hoping for a quick fix after suffering severe financial pressure. Solicitor Monro said his client realized that the security in place at work was lax. As he needed to bring money home for his family, he went ahead and stole the metalwork.

FOBT machines in the UK are now limited to stop large amounts being gambled in one go.

The real facts uncovered

During one of his four trips, McGregor sold an estimated £48,000 ($58,000) worth of metalwork. However, he only made £6,500 ($7,900) in profit. Colin Neilson, who was dealing with the financial dispute, said the accused made an attempt to resolve his financial problems, some of which were self-created.

Neilson clarified that the total value of the stolen metal pipes and tubes came to a total of around £60,000 ($73,000) as opposed to £200,000 ($243,000), as had been suggested earlier in the case.

He also added that Peterson UK were able to make a claim on their insurance for the stolen goods, and were therefore not left out of pocket as a result of McGregor’s actions.

“Breaching trust”

During the court hearing, Sheriff Andrew Miller told McGregor, “The offense here remains very serious, involving four separate occasions on which you arranged for metal that belong to a company to be uplifted from their yard and taken to a scrap dealer. As a result of which you received cash from the dealer, which you retained.” He added,

You accomplished this by breaching trust which was placed on you as someone who had supervisory responsibilities for this yard.”

McGregor was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work over the next 12 months. He avoided any time in jail and was instead given a year-long supervision order.

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