A JAGUAR Land Rover logistics co-ordinator who stole car parts with a retail value of up to £2 million from the company’s site at Gaydon has been jailed for five years.
Simon Wensley used his own automotive business as a cover for the sale of the stolen parts but was said to be ‘a broken man’ following his conviction of theft and two fraud charges following a four-week trial at Warwick Crown Court
Barrister Ben Williams said the offences had been the source of a massive “fall from grace” but conceded Wensley (55) of Coundon, Coventry, had been ‘the author of his own misfortune.’
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said the £263,803 in cash, which had gone through Wensley’s bank accounts, was only some of what he had made from the sale of parts that had cost Jaguar Land Rover £770,000 and had a retail value of £2,289,000.
This enabled Wensley to lead ‘a very comfortable lifestyle’ – buying a new Range Rover outright and holidaying as a family of five at some of the most expensive resorts in the world.
The court heard how the thefts took place between May 2010 and early 2013 when Wensley worked in the JLR vehicle safety department at its Gaydon site.
He had been there since 2006 through a company called Wenztec Ltd, of which he was sole director, as a project engineer.
And after a downturn in trade led to that contract being terminated, he returned in 2010 as a logistics co-ordinator for the vehicle safety department.
But the thefts came to light after JLR’s investigation department noticed a large number of parts being ordered for “no apparent reason.”
The ‘fairly small parts’ were for an engine that had not been produced by JLR since 2007, but more than 2,000 – enough for over 400 engines – had been ordered.
In total almost 4,500 parts were ordered by Wensley for vehicles no longer in production.
The jury heard when the police searched the premises of WT Motorsports, of which Wensley was a director, they found 276 items worth over £23,000.
The police then obtained details of Wensley’s bank accounts and tax records, which showed his income from Wenztec and WT Motorsports between 2010 and 2013 was just £36,785.
But more than £263,000 had been paid into his account in cash during that period.
Wensley claimed the money had come from his involvement in Masonic activities, his hobby of buying and selling Masonic regalia, and gambling.
Jailing Wensley, Judge Lockhart said: “It was a staggeringly dishonest breach of trust. You knew exactly how parts could be ordered in bulk, and within a day or so of being re-employed you were forging signatures on requests for parts.
“This case concerns the systematic, planned, persistent and cynical theft of a quite staggering number of parts from one of the flagship companies in this country.”