Thieves smoked out in stocktake

The days of a mother and son stealing and selling cigarettes have been stubbed out after they admitted thieving nearly $1 million worth of product.

The theft charges against former Hamilton woman Fay Christine Duncan, 56, and her son Richard Graham Duncan, 27, relate to when Richard held a contract with Tasman Supplies Ltd to fill cigarette dispenser machines.

Richard took over from his father Peter's contract after he became ill in 2010.

He was tasked with filling various cigarette dispenser machines, dairies and other cigarette outlets in the Waikato.

From March 2010 until May 2011, Richard manipulated the stocktaking system to misappropriate stock while on the job then on-sell the products to various retail shops in the Waikato at a reduced price.

The price of the theft is estimated to have cost British American Tobacco Holdings NZ Ltd - of which Tasman Supplies is a subsidiary company - $923,786.

The business became aware of abnormalities with the accounts during a routine stocktake.

Then an internal investigation was launched and both Richard and Fay admitted to the theft.

However, while the internal investigation was being carried out, Fay took the stolen cigarettes, which were stored at her house, and, together with her son, on-sold them to several Hamilton retail outlets for $30,000.

Fay was paid in three $10,000 instalments for the sale.

The value of the stock they sold is estimated at $100,000.

Richard pleaded guilty to stealing cigarette products valued at $923,786, the property of Tasman Supplies, while Fay pleaded guilty to receiving cigarette products valued in excess of $100,000 from son Richard, knowing that the cigarette products had been stolen.

Both Richard and Fay now reside in Australia and flew back for the hearing.

Fay Duncan went to school in Hamilton, attending Hamilton West, Melville Intermediate and Melville High School up until 1973.

Appearing in the dock side by side, mother and son were convicted by Judge Barney Thomas and remanded at large to reappear in the Hamilton District Court for sentencing on March 26.

Waikato Times