Bank cleaner who stole £10,000 gets suspended sentence

Richard Hindle.
Richard Hindle.

A CROOKED cleaner systematically stole £10,464 from three high street banks on the same road in Bridlington and told police:“It was like being a kid in a sweet shop.”

Richard Hindle, 64, managed to get a job working as a cleaner with his wife for Lloyds, Barclays and the Halifax despite previous convictions for fraud and theft as a younger man.

Judge Simon Jack told Hull Crown Court: “This was opportunist theft. The money was there to be taken. It shows a somewhat surprising lack of security by the banks.”

Hindle of Prince of Wales’ Terrace, Scarborough, appeared at Hull Crown Court on Tuesday, November 20, for sentence after last month pleading guilty to four charges of theft. He ordered Hindle should be given a 26-week suspended prison sentence, 150 hours unpaid work and pay back £10,464.

Hindle admitted stealing £4,700 from the Halifax in Manor Street, Bridlington, on April 23 2012.

He admitted stealing £2,000 from Lloyds TSB on May 12 and stealing the assistant manager’s keys from Barclays between June 1 and June 30.

Hindle denied stealing £850 worth of foreign currency from Barclays in June, but pleaded guilty to the theft of £3,600 from Lloyds on July 2.

Crown barrister David Gordon said Hindle first found out how easy it was to steal while the bank was shut.

Hindle’s eye was attracted to an envelope in a cupboard in the Halifax which had £4,700 inside. There was no forced entry and it was next to a cahier’s till.

Staff were quizzed on April 27, but the till nearby had last been used three days earlier. Hindle was to tell the police he felt bad at first about stealing at the bank, but when he realised he was not discovered, he could not resist more. He said “It was like being a kid in a sweet shop.” He did not tell his wife and began putting the money in a Post Office saving account rather than trust the banks.

His next windfall came at Lloyds on Manor Street, when a customer had deposited £500 in a drop box at the bank.

The customer reported not seeing it credited to their account and an investigation went on into checking back deposits over a month for the envelope. It could not be found. CCTV was later examined which showed Hindle had been spending a long time around the box. He later admitted to loosening it with a screw driver and stealing £2,000 not £500.

Around the same time he stole the assistant manager’s keys from Barclays who immediately suspected he had not just simply mislaid them. He went to find Hindle who was cleaning nearby at the Halifax.

When quizzed, Hindle brazenly said: “Are these what you are looking for?”

Mr Gordon said Hindle used his same deposit box loophole to steal £3,600 from Lloyds TSB on July 2. When he was arrested two days later he said: “Is it about the keys?”

When initially interviewed he admitted he had been on holiday to Ibiza which he paid for with cash.

He denied any wrong doing until he was faced with overwhelming evidence.

Defence barrister Chris Dunn said: “This in an unusual offence because he has banked most of the money and has not blown it on frivolities and expensive living. The motivation for taking the money was not greed. He wanted the cushion of money in the bank. The defendant has been more like a magpie.”

Judge Simon Jack told Hindle: “This involved a serious breach of trust to steal a substantial amount of money. In normal circumstances a person stealing this amount of money would be locked up. Although you have a criminal record, that was 24 years ago and this was opportunistic theft.”

He told Hindle: “I hope very much you stay out of trouble. You have shown you have done it in the past. I hope you can do it again.”

The banks involved have compensated the customers.