Four men sentenced following the theft of PlayStation consoles
Four men have been sentenced following their involvement in the theft and handling of stolen PlayStation consoles.
At Ipswich Crown Court on Friday 31 May, four men were sentenced as follows:
- Christopher Champion, 41, of Upland Road, St. Helens, Merseyside; eight years imprisonment. Five-and-a-half years for theft, two years for handling stolen goods and six months for breaching a suspended sentence.
- Robert Ratcliff, 48, of Fairfield Approach, Wraysbury, Staines-upon-Thames; three years’ imprisonment for handling stolen goods.
- Keith Williams, 45, of Napier Drive, Horwich, Bolton, Lancashire; two-years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a 26-week curfew, 10 days’ rehabilitation and 180 hours of unpaid work for handling stolen goods.
- Darren Brown, 38, of Orchard Lane, Leigh, Lancashire; two-years imprisonment, suspended for two years, a 26-week curfew, a 35-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 240 hours’ unpaid work for handling stolen goods.
It follows the incident during the day of Tuesday 16 August, 2016, when 2,970 Sony PlayStation 4 Slim consoles were stolen from a sealed container that was due to be delivered to the Port of Felixstowe.
The goods, worth an estimated £769,000, were instead delivered to a location in Essex during the evening on the same day.
Champion and Ratcliff were charged when they appeared before Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on 31 July 2018, with stealing the items that were due to arrive in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a month before Sony had planned to unveil the new version of the console in September.
Champion and Ratcliff were also charged with handling stolen goods, along with Darren Brown and Keith Williams.
Following a two-and-a-half-week trial at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday 17 April, 2019, Champion was found guilty of theft and handling stolen goods.
Ratcliff, Williams and Brown were also all found guilty of handling stolen goods.
Two other men – Paul Bentham, 57, of Chorley, and Stephen Woods, 33, of Wigan, - who were initially charged in connection with the PlayStation theft, were found not guilty when they appeared at court on the same date.
A seventh man, David Hilton, 50, of Lancashire, was also charged with theft and handling stolen goods as part of the same investigation. He was deemed unfit to stand trial.
Detective Inspector John Allison, of the Cyber, Intelligence and Serious Organised Crime Directorate, said: “This was a lengthy and complex investigation supported through a close working relationship with Sony Interactive Entertainment.
“The hard work and tenacity shown by all of those involved is indicative of our commitment to bringing those involved in organised crime to justice.”