Ex-Amazon worker who sent explosive devices through post in refund scam is jailed

·3 min read
Ovidijus Margelis (PA)
Ovidijus Margelis sent the packages to depots around the UK. (PA)

A former Amazon worker who posted packages with explosive devices as part of a plot to get fraudulent refunds has been jailed.

Ovidijus Margelis, 26, sent the packages to depots around the UK, causing site evacuations, road closures, and disruption to more than 50,000 people.

Kingston Crown Court heard the total economic cost of disruption was just under £600,000.

Armed police arrested Margelis in Cambridge last September following reports of a suspicious package in Cricklewood, north London.

Undated handout photo issued by Meropolitan Police of one of the packages with improvised explosive devices sent by through the post by student Ovidijus Margelis, as part of a plot to get fraudulent refunds, who has been jailed at Kingston Crown Court. The 26 year old sent the packages to depots around the UK, causing site evacuations, road closures, and disruption to more than 50,000 people.Issue date: Friday May 14, 2021.
The explosive packages caused site evacuations and road closures. (PA)

Margelis pleaded guilty to one count of making explosive substances in February.

The third-year business management student at Anglia Ruskin University also admitted to fraud by false representation and possession of an article for use in fraud.

Margelis was sentenced to 21 months in prison on Friday.

He was also handed a 17-month prison sentence for fraud which will run concurrently.

The court heard Margelis placed the improvised explosive devices inside packages as part of a fraud.

He would post packages with an explosive attached, made to burn through the delivery labels.

This would mean they could not be delivered and the vendor such as Amazon or PayPal would provide a refund, leaving Margelis “with the goods and refund”.

The court heard he had drawn on his experience working in an Amazon delivery centre in 2018.

Edward Franklin, prosecuting, said Margelis’ actions were “reckless in the extreme” and had caused “considerable disruption, and indeed distress” to multiple people.

He said that on 6 September last year an army bomb disposal team was called to Dunfermline depot in Scotland, which houses 98% of UK Amazon deliveries, following the discovery of one of the packages.

He said: “The night shift was cancelled which meant 700 employees could not work.

“There was disruption to around 50,000 customer orders.”

On 11 September Avon and Somerset police were forced to shut parts of the A38 road and 100-metre cordons were placed around post offices in Bath and Bristol, following reports of further parcels.

Mr Franklin said the economic costs caused by the incidents totalled around £591,000.

He continued: “The mechanism of the fraud was sophisticated, there was significant planning over a sustained period and there was a significant number of victims.

“It was reckless in the extreme.”

Kingston Crown Court, 6-8 Penrhyn Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, KT1 2BB. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday January 13, 2020. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire (Photo by Nick Ansell/PA Images via Getty Images)
Ovidijus Margelis was jailed at Kingston Crown Court. (Getty)

Tom Wainwright, defending, said Margelis had lacked “common sense” and “foresight”.

“What Mr Margelis did was incredibly stupid, but not malicious, the consequences simply did not cross his mind,” he said.

“No one was hurt and nothing was damaged and that should be borne in mind.”

Sentencing Margelis, Judge Martyn Barklem said police would not have been aware of Margelis’ intentions and “difficult decisions need to be made…public safety is paramount.

He added: “Incredibly stupid but not malicious was (Mr Wainwright’s) characterisation, with which I concur.”

A fourth count of possession of criminal property was dropped by the prosecution.