Two warehousemen, one from Methil, were caught trying to steal goods with a total value of over £10,000 from Amazon’s giant delivery site in Dunfermline.
Craig Brown and Lee Hampton worked in the returns department and both were in financial difficulties when they became involved in the scams.
They intercepted returned packages containing expensive electrical devices, re-labelled them and sent them to people they knew.
Brown (25), of Patterson Street, Methil, sent a package containing almost £5000 worth of mobile phones to the address of his fiancee’s mother, hoping to sell them on.
Hampton (29), of Craigie Street, Ballingry, had blown a £5000 bank loan on gaming machines and re-labelled two packages, sending one to a friend and the other to his next-door neighbour.
A Royal Mail employee intercepted all three packages, having become suspicious. The two men lost their jobs and both are now employed at Rosyth Dockyard.
They claimed they had not acted together in the deception and this was accepted by the Crown.
Brown admitted stealing electrical devices worth £4971.79 from Amazon, Amazon Way, Dunfermline, between September 12-20 last year, while Hampton admitted that, between the same dates and at the same place, he stole devices valued at £5196.
Sheriff Charles Macnair told the men they had both committed a “gross breach of trust”.
He sentenced both men to community payback orders with 300 hours of unpaid work and four-month restriction of liberty orders.
Depute fiscal Fiona Nairn said an employee at Royal Mail discovered suspicious packages on September 14 which were partially damaged and identified as having been returned from Amazon’s warehouse.
One package was addressed to a person who turned out to be a friend of Hampton in Ballingry. The other was addressed to his next-door neighbour.
The Royal Mail worker contacted Amazon and it was confirmed the packages were stolen goods. Hampton’s fingerprints were found on the packages.
In October 2015, another suspicious package was found by the same Royal Mail employee and, again, inquiries revealed it contained stolen goods from Amazon.
This package was addressed to the mother of Brown’s fiancée in Lilac Bank, Methil.
Sarah Meehan, agent for Brown, said her client “appreciated the serious nature of this charge”.
She said he was a first offender and was acting “wholly out of character”.
“He very much regrets his actions,” added Ms Meehan.
She said her client had been a docking clerk and his job involved the unloading packages from lorries. His duties included identifying packages which did not have an Amazon logo.
“He was not aware of the contents of this package but suspected it was mobile telephones and this turned out to be the case,” said the solicitor. “He was very candid that, if the goods had made it to the address, it was his intention to sell them on.
“He accepts there was some degree of planning.”
However, she said the pair in the dock had not acted together and it “was by way of coincidence they find themselves in this position”.
Stephen Morrison, solicitor for Hampton, said the two packages in his client’s case had been returned to Amazon erroneously.
“He had a quick look at them and put new labels on them. He hadn’t thought through how he would retrieve the packages,” said Mr Morrison.
Opened in 2011 next to the M90, Amazon’s Dunfermline operation is the company’s biggest order fulfilment centre in the UK.