Banknotes 'stuffed in woman's underwear': Bank sues families over 'stolen' pounds 600,000

Wednesday 13 April 1994 00:02 BST

A WOMAN working at a Bank of England note-destruction depot left each night with a fortune in used notes stuffed down her bra and knickers, a court was told yesterday.

Christine Gibson, 44, was the prime mover in an ingenious plan to systematically steal up to pounds 600,000 from the depot at Debden, Essex, Anthony Boswood QC, for the prosecution, said.

Mrs Gibson had an annual take-home pay of pounds 14,600. Her husband Peter, 47, was not known to have 'ever done an honest day's work in his life'. Yet they had a lifestyle way beyond their means.

The couple, of Loughton, Essex, were said to have had a Mitsubishi Shogun and a Vauxhall Frontera, together worth pounds 34,000, two motorcycles, building society accounts, various items of jewellery - and no mortgage.

Police took an interest after Mr Gibson went to invest pounds 100,000 with the Reliance Mutual Insurance Society in Ilford early in 1992, Mr Boswood added.

The society's manager, Anthony Day, and his assistant were amazed when he emptied bundles of pounds 20 and pounds 50 notes out of a carrier bag on to his desk.

Soon after, Michael Nairne, 39, a colleague of Mrs Gibson's, also tried to invest pounds 30,000 with the society.

The Gibsons, Mr Nairne, and his wife, Sharon, 36, of Loughton, and another employee, Kenneth Longman, and his wife, Janet, also of Loughton are being sued for the return of the cash, allegedly stolen over a four-year period up to 1992. The six deny stealing the money.

All six were arrested - together with another bank employee, Kevin Winwright. But only Mr Winwright, of Mansfields, Writtle, near Chelmsford, Essex, was prosecuted, the court was told. He served an 18-month sentence for stealing pounds 170,000 in notes and will give evidence on the bank's behalf.

A police search revealed pounds 30,000 in cash at the homes of Mr Winwright and his mother, and pounds 600 in cash in Mrs Nairne's 'undie drawer'.

The hearing continues today.

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