Two delivery drivers who submitted fake orders for covid tests during the pandemic were sentenced on Thursday, May 11.

Stephen Keig, 41, of Princes Avenue, Douglas, was sentenced for two years and one month at the Court of General Gaol Delivery.

Lucy Randle-Heslop, 39, of Ballabrooie Avenue, Douglas, was handed a 12-month suspended sentence suspended for 18 months, with a supervision order for the same period.

The scheme kept over 32,000 LFTs from the public over a two-month period.

The court heard that the police were alerted to the scam after employees at the amenity site in Douglas found 35 black bin bags full of LFTs dumped in a skip at the site.

Keig then dumped them at the amenity site and also kept more than £9,000 worth of other parcels he had been tasked with delivering.

During the pandemic, the government ran a service to enable Manx residents to order LFTs to their homes for free.

Messages between Keig and Randle-Heslop showed both had been involved in falsely ordering packs of the tests for addresses in their own delivery areas between 14 September and 11 November 2021 and collecting the delivery pay of £1 per box.

Randle-Heslop attempted to explain to police that the covid tests were legitimately ordered as she was paranoid about the covid virus, her defence advocate, Stephen Wood, told the court that she ‘five times a day, doing up to 10-15 tests at a time, as she knew false results were common.’

A search of Keig’s home in Douglas uncovered more than £1,900 worth of undelivered parcels, with a further £7,900 worth in a storage unit he rented in Braddan.

His defence advocate, Jordan Peterson, told the court that he never intended to keep the parcels but some weren’t sorted correctly and he intended to bring them back to the depot, however due to him being ‘disorganised’, he forgot.

He had justified keeping the parcels because the people they were addressed to would be given a refund or sent another package.

The court heard officers also found 19 indecent images of children on devices seized from Keig’s home as well as evidence he had helped Randle-Heslop change her bank statements to hide her earnings from the court.

Both defendants pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and conspiracy to commit an act against public justice.

Keig also admitted to two counts of theft, one of making indecent images of children and one of possessing an offensive weapon, namely a knuckle-duster.

Sentencing the pair Deemster Cook said: ‘People were dying on the island and worrying about their health and their relatives.

‘This was an appalling thing for both of you to get involved with.’

Keig was also placed on the sex offenders register for seven years, made subject to travel notification restrictions for the same period, and given a sexual offences prevention order, which limits his access to electronic devices and the internet.