Two courier firm employees who stole high-value jewellery from an airline and a woman who stowed it at her home have been sentenced after a keen-eyed colleague reported their suspicious behaviour.
Detectives from the Met Police West Area Operational Command Unit and Aviation Policing Command acted quickly, arresting all three culprits within five hours of receiving the intelligence.
At approximately 08:45hrs on 6 September, a manager for courier firm DHL happened to be driving behind a company van when it pulled over on Green Lane, Hounslow.
She saw a man she recognised as DHL employee Donald Marklew, 41 (14.10.77) of Hibernia Road, Hounslow, get out of the van. Marklew's job involved refreshing blankets and similar items on planes for one airline after they had landed at Heathrow Airport.
The manager became suspicious when she saw Marklew place an airline-issue holdall, used to store airline headphones, in a blue BMW, the driver of which was a woman she identified as Donald Marklew's wife, Amandip Marklew, 31 (15.05.87), also of Hibernia Road, Hounslow.
The manager promptly reported what she had seen to her line manager, who in turn reported it to the Met Police.
Local officers attended the Marklews' home address that morning where they arrested Amandip Marklew at approximately 10:15hrs and recovered the airline bag, which contained jewellery worth almost £6,000. They recovered a second bag which Amandip Marklew had identified as containing more stolen goods - inside were bottles of perfume worth a combined value of almost £4,000.
The jewellery and perfume were subsequently identified by a loss prevention expert for the airline as being property of the company.
Officers arrested Donald Marklew at his workplace around 30 minutes later and interviewed him at a police station. He told police that he bought the perfume from a market stall, knowing it to be stolen and intending to sell it on. He claimed he did not know the bag contained jewellery when he picked it up while at work but that upon realising it was filled with jewellery, he and his colleague, Jeffrey Morton, decided to share it.
The investigation was passed to the Met Police Aviation Policing Command and officers from the command's Crime Squad arrested Morton, 36, (23.11.82) of Micheldever Way, Bracknell, at his workplace at approximately 13:30hrs. He denied any wrongdoing.
On 24 October, at Isleworth Crown Court, Donald Marklew pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of handling stolen goods; Amandip Marklew pleaded guilty to one count of handling stolen goods; Morton pleaded guilty to one count of theft.
On Wednesday, 13 December, at the same court, Donald Marklew was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months; he must carry out 120 hours’ unpaid work and pay £160 costs. Amandip Marklew was sentenced to carry out 80 hours' unpaid work and pay £160 costs. Morton was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months; he must carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work and pay £160 costs.
Investigating officer, PC Jon Houston of the Aviation Policing Command's Crime Squad, said: "This case proves that while there are people who will abuse their position at work, there are also very vigilant colleagues who waste no time in reporting suspicious behaviour to police. The DHL manager did the right thing in reporting the Marklews' activity and it is thanks to her that the group was stopped.
"When we were alerted to the Marklews' suspicious activity we acted quickly to recover the stolen items and prevent further criminality by the group."