Assistant stole golf gear worth £75,000 to sell on ebay

Livingston Sheriff Court
Livingston Sheriff Court

A shop assistant stole £75,000-worth of golf gear from his employer and flogged it on ebay, a court heard.

Ross Ewen made £27,870 selling the designer clothing online at discount prices – and squandered the cash on his secret gambling habit.

By amending store records to conceal his thefts and using a false name on the internet sales site he got away with the embezzlement scam for nearly three years, Livingston Sheriff Court was told today.

But the 26-year-old was finally caught after one of his ebay clients phoned him at the Golf Poser shop in Linlithgow to complain that a Hugo Boss shirt he’d bought hadn’t arrived.

The store owner Andrew Coulter – a friend of Ewen’s family – took the call because the accused was on holiday and became suspicious because they didn’t sell goods online.

He checked the ebay advert, recognised the pattern of a carpet from the accused’s home in the photograph and called the cops.

An investigation discovered that Ewen had been selling hundreds of stolen items under the username golfclothing6911 and paying the proceeds directly into his PayPal account.

Iain Smith, defending, said his client had kept his “out of control” gambling addiction a secret from his friends and family.

He said: “He had no idea how much he was spending. In modern gambling there are no controls. On online gambling they just take the money and it’s gone.

“In some ways he thought a big win would come and the debt would be gone, but there was no big win and he accepts he was a mug.”

Ewen, of Alloa, earlier pled guilty to embezzling stock from the shop between October 10, 2011 and July 2, 2014 and amending stock lists to avoid detection.

He was jailed for 14 months even though the court was told his father had repaid the £75,000 for him and had sent a letter of apology to Mr Coulter.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Gerard McMillan told the accused: “The only possible outcome of this matter is imprisonment and you will go to prison.

“It’s clear to me that this was a premeditated and calculated course of conduct, well thought out, which took advantage of whatever laxity there was in stock control that allowed you to get away with this behaviour for so long.

“I understand the reason for it was an addiction but you have to take responsibility for that.”