Four sacked and two resign as Student Loans Company, in Darlington, hit by 'stamp fraud' allegations

Darlington and Stockton Times: FOUR people have been sacked and another two have resigned as part of an investigation into potential fraud at a call centre, The Northern Echo has learnt. FOUR people have been sacked and another two have resigned as part of an investigation into potential fraud at a call centre, The Northern Echo has learnt.

FOUR people have been sacked and another two have resigned as part of an investigation into a potential stamp fraud at a call centre, The Northern Echo can reveal.

The six are understood to have peeled unfranked stamps from mail sent – by students around the world - to the Student Loans Company (SLC) offices in Darlington.

Some were sold on eBay – including one collectors’ item, which allegedly fetched more than £1,500 – according to the whistle-blower who brought the scam to light.

The SLC employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said the investigation is the subject of intense speculation at the company’s call centre at Lingfield Point, in Darlington.

SLC bosses confirmed that an investigation is under way and said they were taking the matter ‘very seriously’.

The company said stolen stamps were being ‘reused’, but declined to comment on speculation about them being sold online, as the investigation is ongoing.

Royal Mail has been informed of the investigation and the SLC said information gathered would be shared with police.

The deliberate re-use of stamps can be considered an offence under the Fraud Act 2006.

The source said: "Some of them are special stamps, one was a collectable that sold for £1,600 – it hadn’t been franked, so they were just able to tear it off the envelope and put it on eBay.”

The whistle-blower said there had been no announcements from bosses at the SLC in Darlington, further fuelling speculation.

He added: “I think the thefts are disgusting, it’s clearly gross misconduct and a breach of trust.

“Anyone prepared to tamper with incoming mail is clearly breaching the company’s trust and I am sure the students would not be happy to think they were putting stamps on their post in good faith and someone was selling them online.”

An SLC spokesman said: “The Student Loans Company is investigating a number of alleged incidents of theft at its Darlington office.

"Some members of staff involved in these incidents have left the company.

"We are taking this matter very seriously and are continuing our investigations.”

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “We endeavour to cancel all stamps and would encourage customers not to re-use a stamp that has not been cancelled.”

The SLC employs about 1,200 staff at its Darlington call centre.

Comments (8)

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12:04pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Homshaw1 says...

The Post Office should frank the stamps properly. It may be illegal but I think a lot of people may reuse an unfranked stamp.

These people clearly don't have enough work to do.

However sacked for selling an unfranked stamp on ebay that would probably have been thrown out seems harsh. I remember when old stamps where donated to charity.
The Post Office should frank the stamps properly. It may be illegal but I think a lot of people may reuse an unfranked stamp. These people clearly don't have enough work to do. However sacked for selling an unfranked stamp on ebay that would probably have been thrown out seems harsh. I remember when old stamps where donated to charity. Homshaw1
  • Score: 33

12:16pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Risk555 says...

Gross misconduct? Get a life! Royal Mail should be franking their stamps correctly. How is claiming something destined for a bin theft?!

Fair enough flogging them on ebay for a gain is possibly a little unethical
Gross misconduct? Get a life! Royal Mail should be franking their stamps correctly. How is claiming something destined for a bin theft?! Fair enough flogging them on ebay for a gain is possibly a little unethical Risk555
  • Score: 26

2:58pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Maria HD says...

Bloody ridiculous!! That whistle blower needs to get a life too!
Bloody ridiculous!! That whistle blower needs to get a life too! Maria HD
  • Score: 16

3:23pm Fri 28 Mar 14

cushybutterfield says...

No big deal the Post Office in some respect have been ***stamping*** on Joe and MARY Public for years. Last year I lost twenty quid in the post. It was a common countrywide practice not too long after the war years, people who suffered from ****real poverty*** then used to often 'UNGLUE-STEAM OFF recycle unmarked stamps. So why not a ***recycled albeit unmarked postage stamp is technically NOT illegal. In a similar example, it begs the question would the whistle-blower refuse a original legal hourly 'transferred Parking Ticket freely given which had been 'originally paid for'. Looks like a 'time on my hands' Stamp Mountain out of a Stamp molehill here.
No big deal the Post Office in some respect have been ***stamping*** on Joe and MARY Public for years. Last year I lost twenty quid in the post. It was a common countrywide practice not too long after the war years, people who suffered from ****real poverty*** then used to often 'UNGLUE-STEAM OFF recycle unmarked stamps. So why not a ***recycled albeit unmarked postage stamp is technically NOT illegal. In a similar example, it begs the question would the whistle-blower refuse a original legal hourly 'transferred Parking Ticket freely given which had been 'originally paid for'. Looks like a 'time on my hands' Stamp Mountain out of a Stamp molehill here. cushybutterfield
  • Score: 15

3:26pm Fri 28 Mar 14

cushybutterfield says...

Poor Geordie recently lost his Job in a Napkin Factory after 34 years hard-graft. . Why ?..... his Job just................
................. ***Folded-up.
Poor Geordie recently lost his Job in a Napkin Factory after 34 years hard-graft. . Why ?..... his Job just................ ................. ***Folded-up. cushybutterfield
  • Score: -23

6:17pm Sat 29 Mar 14

Lilithmoon says...

Hanging is too good for 'em!
How pathetic, they should get a promotion for their ingenuity and re-cycling efforts. The real scam here is the governments sell off of the royal mail, scamming the tax payer out of millions, puts taking a stamp out of the bin into perspective a little bit.
Hanging is too good for 'em! How pathetic, they should get a promotion for their ingenuity and re-cycling efforts. The real scam here is the governments sell off of the royal mail, scamming the tax payer out of millions, puts taking a stamp out of the bin into perspective a little bit. Lilithmoon
  • Score: 3

9:19pm Sat 29 Mar 14

spragger says...

A NE state organisation out of control & on the fiddle.
Where have we heard that before ..
A NE state organisation out of control & on the fiddle. Where have we heard that before .. spragger
  • Score: 5

6:21am Wed 9 Apr 14

itwasnotme says...

how do people like that whistle blower sleep at night ?

i hope him/her are really happy in there sad existence of a life after costing 6 familys there jobs, the really sad thing is it will be someone who probably talks too and knows the sacked employees personally, it usually is... they need shooting as a spy ;)

im guessing the police will be doing a proceeds of "crime" investigation into this major scam and getting back the few pence that was saved and all the flash cars and holiday homes :)
how do people like that whistle blower sleep at night ? i hope him/her are really happy in there sad existence of a life after costing 6 familys there jobs, the really sad thing is it will be someone who probably talks too and knows the sacked employees personally, it usually is... they need shooting as a spy ;) im guessing the police will be doing a proceeds of "crime" investigation into this major scam and getting back the few pence that was saved and all the flash cars and holiday homes :) itwasnotme
  • Score: 1

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