Sheffield eBay scam gang brought to justice

Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson

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Three more conspirators have been brought to justice over a large Sheffield-based eBay scam.

Mastermind Kevin Johnson, aged 47, was jailed for four-and-a-half years in September after selling stolen goods on eBay.

Designer shoes, fake watches and boots worth £72,000 were stolen in ‘professional’ break-ins at Rocket Originals and a Trading Standards warehouse in Sheffield’s east end.

Now Johnson’s son Darrell Tomlinson, 27, of Furnace Lane, Woodhouse has been jailed for his role in the scam.

Appearing in the dock alongside Tomlinson at Sheffield Crown Court were Conan Smyth and Philip Johnson, both 48, who were also recruited by Kevin Johnson.

After failing to dispose of the stolen items himself and receiving a warning from police, Kevin Johnson recruited the trio to help him shift the goods, said Ian Goldsack, prosecuting.

Tomlinson had two stolen watches and 22 pairs of stolen shoes to sell, hoping to split the profits with his dad.

Philip Johnson claimed he was approached by a man in a pub with ‘unused market stock’ and stolen shoes, boots and watches were delivered to his home.

Lists recovered from his East Bank Road, Arbourthorne home showed he had sold 50 or more pairs of shoes on eBay.

Smyth, of Camdale View, Ridgeway, said he met Philip Johnson who told him he was selling ‘really nice’ dance shoes on eBay and he ‘appeared genuine’.

“It wasn’t until later that he thought it was all a bit dodgy,” said Mr Goldsack. eBay records showed he sold 20 pairs of shoes.

Philip Johnson, a self-employed plasterer, confessed to selling seven pairs of shoes and Smyth to nine pairs to help pay off debts from a failed business.

All three defendants admitted handling stolen goods.

Judge Robert Moore told Darrell Tomlinson: “You were involved in these offences at the persuasion of your father and you were then arrested and remanded for a different matter which you didn’t commit and it took the police nine months to realise that.”

He said because of the time he had spent on remand he would jail him only for six weeks to ensure his release “very soon” from prison.

Judge Moore told Philip Johnson and Smyth: “You were both brought into this serious matter by the main perpetrator at a time when he had been warned off by the police and you allowed him to get away with his offending.”

Philip Johnson and Smyth were both given a 12 month community order with Johnson ordered to carry out 75 hours of unpaid work and Smyth 100 hours of unpaid work.

The court in September heard that Kevin Johnson, of Birley Moor Drive controlled lock-up garages nearby which were used to store some of the stolen goods.

He admitted conspiracy to convert criminal property between July, 2012 and April, 2014 and witness intimidation although the judge said others were “above him” in the break-ins and handling.