Knicker thief let off brief sentence

PUBLISHED: 07:35 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:51 31 May 2010

A STANSTED baggage handler who stole more than 300 pairs of ladies knickers from passengers luggage was a vulnerable man who suffered from psychological problems, a court heard on Friday. Recorder Christopher Forsyth told Tristan Self, 27, of Broadway

A STANSTED baggage handler who stole more than 300 pairs of ladies knickers from passengers' luggage was "a vulnerable man" who suffered from psychological problems, a court heard on Friday.

Recorder Christopher Forsyth told Tristan Self, 27, of Broadway End, Silver End, Witham: "You are a sad and not a bad young man."

Self was before Chelmsford Crown Court for sentence after admitting three charges of stealing property belonging to Swissport. He was made the subject of a community order and placed under the supervision of a probation officer for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay £55 prosecution costs.

Recorder Forsyth said: "These were serious offences and passengers are entitled to know their baggage will not be interfered with or stolen. Immediate custody would be the normal sentence theft from baggage entrusted to the airport.

"But it's clear this is not a normal case. You were not motivated by greed. You acted as you did because of your particular psychological problems."

Jamas Hodivala, prosecuting, said Self began employment with Swissport in April 2004 as a baggage handler at Stansted.

Earlier this year rumours began circulating about Self putting his hands into people's luggage and he was kept under observation.

Another baggage handler witnessed Self "playing around with luggage" and challenged him.

Self said: "Okay, you've caught me," and when asked why he did it he replied: "I just don't know."

Self was arrested by police who searched his home. To the astonishment of officers they seized in excess of 300 pairs of ladies knickers and found another eight pairs in a locked cashbox by the defendant's bed.

Police also found 40 watches and numerous luggage labels, locks and plastic tags relating to items from people's baggage. The offences had occurred over a substantial period of time, the court was told.

Mr Hodivala pointed out that Self was not being sentenced in regard to the watches, the charge relating to these having been withdrawn.

Nicholas Cotter, mitigating, said Self was a man of previous good character who had had a rather tragic life. Because of a palate problem he suffered bullying at school and became somewhat isolated.

Sadly he also suffered bullying while working at Stansted Airport and was also subjected to mockery of a sexual nature, said Mr Cotter.

Self also had an obsessive and compulsive behaviour problem, which led to him stealing underwear, watches and luggage tags. "He used to collect a variety of other objects and that just carried on," said Mr Cotter.

Self was a vulnerable man who had been bullied for the greater part of his time. He also suffered from a sexualised behavioural problem, which was being addressed by a therapist.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter