Story of a Stamp Dealer (Chapter 8)
PROBLEMS OF THEFT
I mentioned earlier of Group Captain Randle who said he had done by the best and I added I’d been done by the rest. Well here’s why!
I have had some horrendous experiences with dishonesty including the bookkeeper known locally as ‘Mr Cash.’ When he left us, we think driven out by an even worse thief I found some amazing things. For example; we had one customer who paid with £50 notes but no cash was received by us. He got a credit note on his account but the cash mainly went towards fruit machines!
Mr Cash stopped being Mr Cash after he stopped working for us.
Brian Uden (former colleague) was depressed as his shop takings had dropped by some £400 a week over a long period. Immediately I thought he had a theft problem, it turned out a member of staff was removing cash and replacing it with cheques he had purloined earlier, so when Brian went to lunch there was say £300 in the till, £200 of which was cash. Afterwards £300 in the till but only £75 in cash. They were also apparently running a private detective agency, removing good stamps from approval booklets and replacing them with damaged ones.
Early on I sent all my best stock to a shop on the Yorkshire coast, the parcel ‘never’ arrived and that set me back a year.
My first BIG one was a theft of a complete Tarifold display system from our Hythe shop. It was worth about £10,000, which believe me 40 years ago was a lot of money. I won’t go into too much detail as some years later I stupidly called out to a thief coming into York Stamp Show, ‘I see they let tea leaves in here.’
One of the elder statesmen, friend, took me to one side telling me in our country we don’t mind murder, rape, blackmail etc but take libel very seriously. I solved the problem in a dream (nightmare) obviously I had worked it out but couldn’t believe my findings. The thief left, we hadn’t enough proof for a court case but not before he had had £1,000 plus, back, claiming he had that in the Tarifold. The loss adjuster finished it off by reducing the claim to £6,500 then saying we were under-insured, so we got £4,500.
Ironically Rowland Hill made amends (1979 stamp issue) providing us with missing colours on the sheet giving us basically all the money we lost.
By Tony Buckingham