Royal Marines musician stole £19000 of saxophones and clarinets to pay off
Anyone who steals from their employer should expect to be dismissed and you will be dismissed.Assistant Judge Advocate General Alistair McGrigor Adrian Higginson outside Portsmouth Military Court Centre where he faced court martialCredit: Solent News & Photo Agency A Royal Marines musician stole £19,000 worth of instruments from his military band and sold them on eBay after he fell heavily into debt.Mne Adrian Higginson stole instruments including eight saxophones from store rooms and then advertised them online under his own name.The 29-year-old was caught when a sergeant spotted the instruments listed on the online auction site and realised they could only have come from a military insider.A court martial gave Higginson six months in military detention and dismissed him from the Armed Forces. He added: “He is a very proud man who was embarrassed and bottled it up. He did something that was not only incredibly foolish but was something that was and is wholly out of character.”Mr Bryan said Higginson was well respected in the Royal Marines Band and added: “He is the musician the band turns to when they want those virtuoso solos on the euphonium.”Sentencing him to six months in military detention, Assistant Judge Advocate General Alistair McGrigor said: “We have taken into account your mental disorder and the obsession this caused with hobbies and the debts you racked up.”But this debt could have been dealt with another way and not by stealing from your employer.”For a musician, their instrument is effectively operational equipment and you taking this had a real effect on the band’s effectiveness.”Anyone who steals from their employer should expect to be dismissed and you will be dismissed.” It was only later when Higginson’s eBay account was brought to their attention, that they reopened their inquiries and arrested him.Major Neil Keery, prosecuting, said: “In June last year, a colour sergeant in Plymouth noticed a number of items on eBay. “These were being sold under the name AdrianHigginson11.”The colour sergeant knew that band items had gone missing and the military police had investigated this, but no suspect was identified.”It was apparent that the items being sold could only have been obtained by someone obviously in the military.”The items were stolen while the defendant had access to the stores they were kept in, over a period of months.”The court heard Higginson had taken most of the instruments while the band took a summer break in August and September 2015.Higginson, of Portsmouth, admitted two counts of theft from the band’s store rooms in Plymouth and Portsmouth between March 2015 and August 2016.Military police recovered the cornet and amplifier by going to the home of the person who bought them. All the other instruments were bought by someone in Poland and remain missing.Higginson wept during the hearing and Rob Bryan, defending, told the court his client suffered a form of bi-polar disorder that caused great swings in his mood. He said Higginson was a proud man who had been unable to talk to his family about his debts.Mr Bryan said: “The decision to steal the instruments was one of rank stupidity, which has brought him before this court. Portsmouth Military Court heard Higginson had played the euphonium and cello in the Royal Marines Band Service for 10 years, but had also run up debts of almost £15,000.The father-of-one started to steal instruments in March 2015 and over the course of a year, took eight saxophones, two clarinets, a cornet, a horn and a focusrite amplifier. He also stole the personal trumpet of another band member.The Royal Military Police investigated the missing instruments, but were unable to find the culprit and eventually closed the case. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.