Prison guard sacked for using inmates’ PlayStation gets £19,000 payout

News

A prison guard caught ‘borrowing’ a games console intended for inmates’ families has won a payout after a tribunal found he had been unfairly dismissed.

Identified in the hearing only as Mr Brown, he said that he had taken the PlayStation from a cupboard at the jail, something he said other guards did. The device went missing for two months and he was confronted with CCTV evidence of a man with a carrier bag, but he continued to deny it was him.

He was given one final chance to come clean before police were called and he admitted to borrowing it, leading to his instant dismissal from HMP Northumberland.

At an appeal hearing, his bosses were told: ‘He admits that he borrowed a PlayStation earlier and said that others did so too. He indicates, in his letter of appeal, that the director accused him of theft.

‘He complains that the only CCTV footage which was checked was his shifts and that no CCTV footage was checked with regard to other staff.’

Mr Brown lost the appeal because he had admitted an offence, but an employment tribunal found that there had been errors in the investigation.

This included not allowing him to question witnesses and changing the basis of dismissal.

The panel, sitting in North Shields, Tyneside, said: ‘The claimant was dismissed for theft. He believed that he was accused of theft.

‘By the time of the appeal, it was suggested that he was not dismissed for theft. He was never given the opportunity to respond to that allegation, which is unfair.’

It upheld his claim of unfair dismissal, and awarded him £18,672 despite accepting he was ’70 per cent to blame’ for his sacking.