Warehouse worker stole £500,000 worth of drugs

Luton Crown Court. Image: Thomas Nugent/Geograph
Luton Crown Court. Image: Thomas Nugent/Geograph

A warehouse worker stole over half a million pounds worth of pharmaceutical drugs which he hoarded in his Bedford home.

Andris Kritners, who will be 58 tomorrow (Saturday), cannot explain why he took the Class A, B and C drugs from Movianto in Bedford.

Prosecutor Matthew Kirk told Luton crown court that the company in Progress Park provides warehouse and distribution services for pharmaceuticals.

Kritners, who had worked there from 2013, was a warehouse operative on the night shift team.

“On 8 August 2019, he was randomly searched when finishing a night shift. On his person were 72 packets of drugs. 14 more packets were found in his locker.

“When his house was searched, 7,100 packets of drugs were found in his mattress, in boxes in his loft or elsewhere in the property.

“Subsequent inquiries established that over a course of years he had taken drugs from the warehouse and hoarded them at home,” said Mr Kirk.

The suspicion was that he was selling the drugs, but the prosecution now accepted that was not the case.

But Mr Kirk said: “Although the drugs were recovered they were not usable, either because they had expired or because the chain of control had been broken.”

The total value of the drugs taken was put at £583,139.

Kritners, of Maitland Street, Bedford, appeared for sentencing having pleaded guilty to theft from his employer and four charges of possessing Class A drugs, two of possessing Class B drugs and four of possessing Class C drugs.

Defending, Daniel O’Donoghue said: “He is a man of previous good character both in this country and Latvia.

“It is a very unusual offence. He is at a loss to explain it. There is no evidence of him benefitting. He says he was amassing a collection.”

Mr O’Donoghue said it was not the defendant’s fault the case had taken so long to come to court.

Recorder Debra Powell KC said it was “extraordinary” that he had stolen drugs to the value of £583,000.

She said he appeared to have derived no financial or other benefits in what was an unusual case and passed a two-year jail sentence suspended for 18 months.

Kritners must carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and attend 10 rehabilitation days. A proceeds of crime hearing will be at a later date.

Reporting by South Beds News Agency
Edited by Paul Hutchinson for the Bedford Independent

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