A former community football coach has been jailed for 15 months after stealing over 1,000 boxes of clothing from a parked lorry on the A1 in Lincolnshire.
Paul Kellett, 40, of no fixed address, claims he was forced into the theft of the items, with a value of up to £100,000, from a Next lorry that had been parked up overnight.
He was caught sitting in a van “crammed full” of the stolen property after police were called to two damaged lorries at Colsterworth.
Lincoln Crown Court heard officers were called after the driver of the Next lorry saw a figure running down the side of his vehicle.
Police discovered a large gap had been broken in the back of the lorry and around a quarter of the load of 4,000 Next clothing boxes were missing.
Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, said police also found that a gap had been cut in the side of a Polish lorry which was carrying liquid for E-cigarettes.
Mr Dunne said police carried out a search of the area and found Kellett sitting in a van on nearby Honeypot Lane. All the stolen property was recovered.
The van itself had been stolen from the Dewsbury area.
“It was crammed full of the stolen clothing,” Mr Dunne added.
Terry Boston, mitigating, told the court Kellett had a gambling addiction and was coerced in to the thefts by people he was too frightened to name.
Mr Boston said Kellett had previously been a community football coach and tiler.
Kellett admitted two charges of theft on February 22, 2018 and a third charge of stealing computer equipment from another lorry in September, 2017. He also admitted being carried in the stolen van.
Passing sentence Judge Andrew Easteal told Kellett his offending involved the targeting of parked up lorries.
The judge added:”No one knows the exact value of the property but it would certainly be up to £100,000.”