August 2019

Pervert Currys PC World worker took customers’ personal photos off their computers

A pervert worker stole customers’ photos off their computers at a Currys PC World store.

And police raided Steven Hawkes’ home to find a whopping 19,204 indecent images of children.

Hawkes took personal photographs off customers’ PCs and laptops at a Midlands branch of the electrical retail giant – for his own sexual gratification.

The 38-year-old secretly copied hard drives while transferring shoppers’ data from their old devices to new ones which they had bought from the retail giant

He then viewed customers’ photographs – including a teenage girl’s school prom and pictures of women’s breasts – at his home.

Stoke Crown Court heard his deception was uncovered when police raided his property and seized a number of his electronic devices.

They also found thousands of indecent images and films of children and extreme pornography featuring sex between humans and animals.

Now Hawkes has been jailed for 16 months and put on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years after he pleaded guilty to several offences over a 10-year period. He is also subject to a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Prosecutor Richard McConaghy said: “The defendant was working for Currys PC World for a number of years. One of his duties was to move data from people’s old computers to the new ones they were buying.

“He was supposed to do that by attaching the computers to the network available at his place of work. In fact he was using a thumb drive on some occasions in order to copy material from some devices.

“On the devices looked at by the police were copies of some of those hard drives. One example involved the hard drive of the computer of a teenage girl including personal photos, some in a folder called ‘Prom Photos’.”

Police also recovered 19,204 indecent still and moving images of children – including 3,400 of the most serious, Category A – and 220 examples of extreme pornography.

Mr McConaghy added: “When interviewed by police, he said he would take copies of customers’ hard drives if he looked through their photos and found images that were sexually engaging for him, for example if he could see someone’s breasts, he would make copies and take them home.”

When asked about the indecent images of children, Hawkes said he had started off searching for ‘mainstream’ pornography and found his way onto the ‘dark web’ – which led to other people sending him the illegal photographs. He claimed he had meant to delete them but had ‘not got round to it’.

Hawkes, of Greatbach Avenue, Penkhull, pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images of children, possessing extreme pornographic images, computer misuse and possessing cannabis. He had no previous convictions.

Recorder Balraj Bhatia said Hawkes’s offences were so serious that he could not suspend his prison sentence.

Currys PC World has not revealed where Hawkes was working when the offences were committed. It has stores on Festival Park and in Longton.