A FAILED entrepreneur who dishonestly handled more than £200,000 worth of stolen farm equipment has been jailed for three years.
Anthony Gribbin, 33, had plans to restore the listed 17th century Leaventhorpe Hall in Bradford and run a successful equestrian business, but he now faces financial ruin and bankruptcy.
Judge John Potter described Gribbin’s fall from grace as ‘’breathtaking’’ but said his offending was characterised by greed and an apparent avaricious nature.
Over a seven-week period in 2009 Gribbin, who had no previous convictions, sold on various items of agricultural and building equipment which had been stolen from locations across Yorkshire including Holmfirth, Halifax, Wakefield and Eldwick.
Although almost all the stolen equipment was returned to its owners but Bradford Crown Court heard that unsuspecting dealers who bought items from Gribbin had lost out.
A week before Gribbin was due to be sentenced for seven charges relating to the handling of stolen tractors and other equipment he was caught again trying to sell on hired equipment for more than £16,000.
His barrister Rodney Jameson QC explained that Gribbin had wanted to get some money to keep his business afloat while he was serving his prison sentence.
Judge Potter said the fraud offence, for which Gribbin recruited his employee Jonathon Nunn, was a flagrant breach of his court bail at the time.
Nunn, 26, of Thornton Road, Bradford, had his six-month jail term for the fraud matter suspended for a year and he was ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work.
Judge Potter told Gribbin he had been involved in the organised handling of stolen high-value items and had made dishonest representations to unsuspecting traders.
The judge noted that transactions in the farming community often took place on the basis of someone’s good word or good will and Gribbin’s behaviour had significantly undermined that process.
The judge made a confiscation order against Gribbin which means that two of the dealers who get back about £17,000 between them.