A ‘Faginesque’ shopkeeper was caught selling phones stolen in street robberies and from city nightclubs in an undercover police sting.
Aiman Saeed, who runs A&E Satellites on Firth Park Road, was caught on camera asking officers to steal items such as Xboxes and PS4 games consoles for his business and selling them stolen iPhones.
Sheffield Crown Court was told the stolen phones in Saeed’s possession included one taken from a 16-year-old girl by two men in a street robbery, as well as three taken from the Viper Rooms club and one from West Street Live in Sheffield city centre.
Saeed, aged 48, of Ribston Mews, Darnall, was given a suspended 18-month jail sentence but ordered to pay £300 compensation each to seven victims whose stolen phones were found in his possession.
He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to five counts of handling stolen goods and one of possessing criminal property.
Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, said the defendant was targeted by undercover officers in early 2015 as part of Operation Karamel, a covert investigation into street robberies, burglaries and handling of stolen goods in Sheffield.
Two undercover officers first visited the shop in February 2015.
Ms Gallagher said: “An officer who said he was called ‘Albert’ explained he had boys who robbed items and anything in the shop could be obtained. This defendant and a younger male in the shop both appeared interested and told the officers to come back with items.”
Saeed later sold an iPhone 5S worth £500 that had been stolen from a woman’s bag at the Viper Rooms the month before to Albert for £80 Ms Gallagher said Saeed asked the officers to get him an Xbox and PS4 and when told that they could provide stolen ones not in their box said that was ‘fine’.
Albert also offered Saeed a Galaxy S5 he said had been stolen from a phone shop by an employee, which the defendant paid the undercover officer £150 for. The shopkeeper then offered the officers a choice of three iPhones, with the one they selected being discovered to have been stolen from a different female victim at the Viper Rooms.
The court heard Saeed also asked the officers to steal some Beats headphones for him. They returned to the shop with a pair they said they had stolen, which Saeed gave them £30 for - along with another iPhone that had been stolen from the Viper Rooms.
On June 24, the defendant was arrested and found to have in his possession iPhone belonging to a 16-year-old girl that had been stolen from her by two men in a street robbery on Firth Park Road.
A search of his shop uncovered a further three stolen phones – one stolen at West Street Live, another lost by a man on a night out in Sheffield city centre and a third taken from a man in a street robbery.
Ms Gallagher said it was the prosecution’s case Saeed had behaved in an ‘almost Faginesque fashion of encouraging people to steal things so he could sell them in the shop’.
Sarah Smith, defending, said she took issue with the description of her client’s behaviour as ‘Faginesque’.
She said there was ‘no evidence’ outside of the approaches from the undercover officers he had approached anyone and invited them to steal items.
Ms Smith added that Saeed was sorry for his behaviour and considered that ‘he had broken his own moral code’.
She said her client was the primary carer for his parents and was unlikely to commit any further offences.
Judge Simon Lawler QC said he had been provided with references which showed Saeed was a hard-working man who was viewed as a ‘very well-respected member of the community’.
“All of that you have put at risk,” he told the defendant.
“I’m satisfied you are genuinely remorseful.
“I have come to the view you are unlikely to reoffend.”