A delivery driver who faked his own kidnapping in Chorley so he could rob hundreds of potential Christmas presents has been jailed for 32 weeks.
Mark Pennington, 23, also known as Daryl, wasted more than 100 hours of police officers’ time when he stole 205 parcels from his van – then blamed the theft on two mystery men who raided his vehicle in Mawdesley.
Packages containing games consoles, Kindles and electrical goods went missing, and an ambulance attended the scene to help the supposedly “shaken” driver.
But when questioned by detectives Pennington buckled under the pressure and admitted he had planned the incident with the help of an as yet unknown accomplice.
Judge Graham Knowles, sentencing him at Preston Crown Court on Thursday, said: “There was, as you knew, bound to be hundreds of victims because of the nature of the business, as the goods were mainly things people had ordered on the internet, going to their homes. 255 parcels were stolen and have never been recovered.
“It has only been possible to identify the contents of 100 and they were worth just short of £6,500.
“It seems reasonable to assume the total value was in the region of £13,000.
“This may have caused people not to be able to give presents. You did it for easy money out of sheer greed.”
Pennington, who had three previous convictions for six offences, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and theft.
Judge Knowles added: “You had planned, in order to cover up the theft, a bogus tale of a dramatic robbery and you acted out a part to a member of the public and then the police and lied to them. More than 100 hours of police time were wasted.
“An officer was taken off a rape inquiry and the only dog handler in the county was dispatched.
“A senior investigating officer was deployed, such was the gravity of this invented offence.”
Preston Crown Court heard how on November 21 last year Pennington was driving a van for Yodel delivery service.
Kirsten McAteer, prosecuting, said Pennington, of Kitt Green Road, Wigan, left a depot at around 9am.
Pennington told police that he had stopped in the slip road of junction 27 of the M6 when his van door was opened and a man got inside, telling him to move over and “get down”.
He claimed two men took the van to Mawdesley and unloaded the parcels.
Det Cons Graham Hunt, speaking after the sentencing, said: “Pennington betrayed the trust of his employers and then wasted a significant amount of police and other emergency service resource with his fairy tales.
“He drove into Mawdesley that November morning with the selfish intention of taking what was not his and with a misguided belief that the truth would not come out – he was wrong.
“Making the crime even more heinous was the timing. It happened during the run-up to Christmas where many individuals and families were sending each other gifts which Pennington was trusted to deliver.
“He now has months in jail to think about the trouble he has caused and the people he has deceived with his crimes.”