Lossiemouth firefighter loses unfair dismissal appeal

RAF Lossiemouth

A firefighter who lost his defence job at RAF Lossiemouth after being accused of stealing equipment and selling it through an online auction site has lost an unfair dismissal claim.

47-year-old Neil Humphries was sacked in July last year by the Ministry of Defence over allegations that he had stolen items including gloves, neck protector and a black helmet kitbag from his place of work.

He had claimed that the equipment was sold on his wife’s EBay account and had originally been purchased by her to help him with his work as crew manager of the RAF Lossiemouth fire station.

However, a three-day unfair dismissal tribunal hearing held in Inverness concluded on Monday backed the MoD decision to sack Mr Humphries.

Employment judge Reg Christie said the panel had been satisfied that Mr Humphries’ employers had carried out a fair and reasonable investigation before dismissing him. Giving the decision of the panel Mr Christie added that it was not for the tribunal to determine if Mr Humphries had been guilty of the thefts.

The decision to remove Mr Humphries from his post came after an investigation by the Defence Fire and Risk Management Organisation (DFRMO), a branch of the MoD that manages fire stations on military bases.

Earlier the tribunal had heard that investigators sought information from EBay over an account in the Lossiemouth area that had been used to sell a number of items that had potentially belonged to the MoD.

Investigators said that the account was linked to Mr Humphries, who was subsequently suspended on full pay in March 2014.

Mr Humphries had been employed by the MoD for 25 years and had an unblemished record before his dismissal.