Worker was stealing £1m yacht one piece at a time
In the words of Johnny Cash, he was doing it One Piece at a Time. But James Light had bigger ambitions than to build a Cadillac, as the car factory worker in the song hoped to do. He wanted his own £1m Sunseeker motoryacht.
A court was told yesterday how, over seven years, Light, 35, stole hundreds of components belonging to his employer, Sunseeker in Poole, in the hope of building a dream boat.
He accumulated parts worth £55,000, including electrical components, a 4ft radar mast, widescreen television, lifting straps and sternlights. They were carefully stored in more than 100 boxes at a lockup garage in Bournemouth.
Most of the stolen items were meant for the luxury 53ft motoryachts that Light worked on — normally the preserve of film stars, Formula One racing drivers and Russian oligarchs.
Song by Johnny Cash laid the groundwork
Bournemouth Crown Court was told that Light was caught before he had the chance to start building when a DVD player was found in his toolbox. Although Light claimed that he had obtained the parts legitimately from a third party, he admitted charges of theft and handling stolen goods.
Detective Inspector Jez Noyce said: “Through an investigation at his home we found a rented lockup garage. There were over 100 boxes of items believed to be from Sunseeker.
“Most of the items were electrical components and Light would have been involved with fitting them to boats at work.
“When Light was questioned about the items he told us that he had purchased them from an unknown male so he could build his own boat. He said he was either going to build a boat or buy one and then modify and do it up with the parts.
“I have no idea how someone managed to sneak all these items past security at Sunseeker, especially a 4ft radar pole and a large television.”
Paul Hester, for the prosecution, said that Light had worked at Sunseeker for 11 years and was employed as an electrical engineer when he was caught in September 2005.
Sunseeker has sacked Light. A spokesman said: “Sunseeker helped identify the parts through serial numbers and it was established that they were stolen. It appears that Mr Light was going to use the parts to build his own boat.
“We haven’t got a clue as to how these parts came to leave the factory. There are very stringent security measures in place, there are security cameras and a strong security presence to make sure everything stays where it should.”
Light admitted 17 counts of handling stolen goods and two counts of theft. He also admitted cultivating cannabis and possessing Ecstasy tablets, cocaine and cannabis.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 200 hours of community service.
I'd have liked to see him smuggle the hull out