• Hockey

Ex-international hockey player's £450 Sainsbury's self-scan scam

ESPN staff
October 1, 2013

A former international hockey player stole £450 of groceries from Sainsbury's after self-scanning all of his items repeatedly as loose onions.

City recruitment consultant Nicholas Long, 25, who played Under-19 hockey internationally, was ordered to pay £250 and handed 180 hours of community service after admitting to pulling off the scam 20 times over three months earlier this year.

A security guard eventually caught Long in the act on August 7 when he saw him trying to scan £22 worth of items at a self-service checkout as loose onions, which the store were not even selling. Long admitted to regularly using the scam at Sainsbury's stores and blamed his actions on fears of losing his job amid money worries over a £10,000 debt from his father's failing business and his girlfriend's pregnancy.

However the prosecutor pointed out Long had previous convictions for shoplifting in 2010 and 2011. He was also caught trying to scan a bottle of champagne as bleach and stealing a coat from John Lewis as well as a mobile phone from a handbag at a private party in 2012.

Long was branded a "persistent thief" by Judge Paul Worsley QC and warned he was on the verge of being sent to prison. He said: "Stealing from a supermarket is always serious; it pushes up the cost of goods up for honest members of the public who have to pay to cover the cost of those goods lost through dishonesty.

"You are an otherwise respectable young man who achieved international honours in hockey, so it is sad to see you before the courts… But if you persist in taking other people's property - whether a large organisation like Sainsbury's or an individual's - you will have to go to prison."

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