Former Rock employee stole £220,000 of stock

Written by Tim Smalley

May 9, 2008 | 18:30

Tags: #computers #employee #notebooks #paul #stock #theft #trading

Companies: #rock

Yesterday it became apparent that Rock, once one of the UK's leading specialist notebook manufacturers, had gone into administration.

In the statement issued on its website, the failure was partly blamed on a former employee who was involved in stock misappropriation. Today, it's come to light that 24-year-old Paul Bicknell, former head of sales, stole more than £200,000 worth of computers over a period starting in 2005 and continuing through past his resignation in July 2007.

Bicknell was hired by the firm at the age of 16 and worked his way through the ranks to become head of sales and the main contact for CFA Trading, one of Rock's regular customers.

CFA said that it found Bicknell to be "helpful and always willing to assist" with its purchases, however in 2006 the company noticed that its payments weren't making it through to Rock's accounts.

At the same time, the former head of sales started driving expensive sports cars and became addicted to gambling online, living in "something of a fantasy and unreal world," according to his solicitor.

Bicknell began to chase losses and a month after he left the company in July 2007, he broke into Rock's warehouse and stole computers worth £11,497 – he then sold these machines.

The total loss to Rock is reported to be in the region of £220,000, but when courts attempted to recoup some of the losses, the court could only make a nominal £1 payment because Bicknell was penniless. Bicknell is now serving a three-year sentence after admitting to nine charges of theft brought upon him in court.

Although this is a massive amount of money—and it was enough to cause Rock to lose its credit and cause cashflow problems—I don't believe it's the only thing that caused the £5 million turnover-per-year company to crash. Custom PC reports that people close to Rock have said not all the blame should be placed on Bicknell, although no allegations have been confirmed.

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