A G4S driver has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly one million pounds from his armoured security van, as police scramble to find the money he took. Jo
A G4S driver has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly one million pounds from his armoured security van, as police scramble to find the money he took.
Joel March, 36, of Clapham, south west London, pleaded guilty to one count of theft from an employer at Camberwell Magistrates Court today and will remain in custody before sentencing next month.
The father-of-three was seen parking his branded blue van on a quiet street in Clapham just before 9am on Tuesday.
Guard Joel March left his armoured G4S vehicle on a double-yellow line at 9am it sat abandoned for more than eight hours, with police arriving at 7pm
He was seen going back and forth to the van several times before abandoning it and disappearing around 9.40am.
Neighbours became suspicious when they noticed the security vehicle was parked the wrong way round on double yellow lines.
Police did not arrive until hours later, despite calls to G4s, when they eventually traced March to a house in nearby Brixton where they found him with £60,000 and a new pair of shoes and clothes, the court was told. The other £910,000 reported missing has not been found.
The blue van (pictured) was abandoned and had been sitting on double yellow lines for more than eight hours before police were alerted
G4S have since launched a probe after experts branded the incident a ‘catastrophic security blunder’.
His charge in court today read: ‘On April 23, 2019 at Larkhall Rise SW8 stole money to the value of £970,000 belonging to G4S.’
Prosecuting, Amanda McCabe told the hearing: ‘G4S did not record the van [abandoned] until eight hours later. He left behind his body armour, phone and other items in the van.
‘He was eventually followed to an address in Brixton and arrested. Police seized £60,000 and some amount of clothing and footwear at the address. The rest remains outstanding.
‘He gave an account complaining about G4S and his mental health. There are potentially others involved in this case. We believe enquiries are on going,’ the Evening Standard reported.
Defending, Bruce Reid said March did not apply for bail ahead of sentencing.
The court was told the blue G4S van was abandoned at 8.57am on Tuesday in Larkhill Rise, Clapham.
Van arriving at 8:57am Tuesday. Ex-Met-chief superintendent Barry Phillips told The Sun : ‘Something has gone seriously wrong’
One resident said he thought it was suspicious that the van be parked there, as there were no shops in the area, and it was left on double yellow lines.
The concerned resident then called G4S to report the suspicious van at 5.30pm, but he said the firm weren’t ‘particularly concerned’.
Ex-Met-chief superintendent Barry Phillips told The Sun: ‘Something has gone seriously wrong.
‘The van’s movements should have been monitored and the controllers should have been in regular communication with the guard.’
The blue van is said to have been left parked up in Larkhill Rise in the Clapham area of London (pictured above)
He added that it was ‘bewildering’ that a parking warden did not call police after ticketing the van.
Neighbours said the vehicle was towed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning before being forensically examined.
G4S said these sorts of incidents are ‘extremely rare’ in the UK cash business and added that they are working with police to resolve the matter.
March will be sentenced at Inner London Crown Court at a date to be set next month.
Olympic security shambles and chaos behind bars: How British firm G4S has been embroiled in controversy after it was formed in 2004
British multinational G4S, which was formed in 2004 after a merger between London based Securicor and Danish firm Group 4 Falck, has been dogged by controversy in recent years.
The firm, based in Crawley, operates in more than 90 countries and has more than 570,000 employees, and has been at the centre of accusations of mismanagement and malpractice.
In 2012, they were embroiled in controversy surrounding the London Olympics over its handling of security for the event.
The firm was contracted to provide more than half of the near 24,000 security staff required for the event but, only 16 days before the Games began, it admitted it had not managed to recruit enough people.
G4S was contracted to provide more than half of the 24,000 security staff required for the London Olympics, but days before the event began it admitted it did not have enough staff and military personnel had to be drafted in
It meant an extra 3,500 military personnel had to be drafted in.
G4S’s then head, Nick Buckles, described the situation as a ‘humiliating shambles’ when he appeared before a parliamentary committee.
The following year it emerged they had been overcharging the Ministry of Justice for the electronic tagging of criminals. It was forced to pay back £109million.
In October 2010, 46-year-old Jimmy Mubenga died from a heart attack while he was being restrained by three G4S security guards on a deportation flight bound for Angola after he served a tywo year sentence for assault.
Last year the Ministry of Justice had to take control of HMP Birmingham back from G4S after a damning report into conditions in the privately-run prison. Pictured: Riot police outside the jail after a disturbance in 2016
In July 2013, an inquest jury said that Mr Mubenga was unlawfully killed by the guards restraining him.
In September 2017, nine members of staff were suspended from the Brook House immigration centre near Gatwick Airport, which was run by G4S.
An investigation for the BBC’s Panorama recorded employees ‘assualting and abusing’ detainees.
In October 2010, 46-year-old Jimmy Mubenga (pictured with wife Adrienne Makenda Kambana) died from a heart attack while he was being restrained by three G4S security guards on a deportation flight bound for Angola
In 2015 there another Panorama probe sparked criminal proceedings against eight staff who worked at the Medway Secure Training Centre – a prison for young people.
In May 2016, G4S handed control of the youth jail back to the Ministry of Justice.
Last year the Ministry of Justice had to take control of HMP Birmingham after a damning report into conditions in the privately-run prison.
It became the UK’s first public jail to enter private hands when G4S was awarded a 15-year contract to operate it in 2011.
Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons, reported a ‘dramatic decline’ in standards since HMP Birmingham was last assessed in February 2017.
It had earlier emerged that G4S spent £500,000 on changing locks at the prison after guards lost all the keys – just days after it took control of the jail.