A DELIVERY driver was forced to pay compensation to one of the richest men in the world when thieves stole his van and the Amazon parcels inside.

Vladimir Staev had to reimburse the online giant by more than £2,300 to cover the cost of cameras he was delivering in Brighton when William Westein and Jamie Beaver took his white Renault and 72 packages last month.

The 37-year-old first time father Mr Staev lost his job and even had to pay to pay police £100 to get his stolen van back.

Amazon - owned by one of the richest men in the world Jeff Bezos - tried to recover the cost of the stolen cameras from courier firm Fast UK Parcel. But they passed the cost of the stolen goods on to their former driver Mr Staev and made him pay for a replacement van.

Mr Staev, who has a two-month-old son, said: “The boss of Amazon is the richest man in the world and I’ve had to pay them back for stuff that was stolen from my van. I’m the victim of a crime and I’m the one who has to pay.”

Westein, 21, and Beaver, 18, of Pelham Street, Brighton, admitted stealing the van from Sillwood Place on July 15 and two sacks of cameras valued at £1,564.63. Westein, of Blackman Street, Brighton, also pleaded guilty to criminal damage and driving without insurance.

Both were ordered to repay Mr Staev the full amount - but at a rate of £5-a-week from next month. Magistrate Billy Singh told Mr Staev: “You will get the money but it may take a very long time. I’m sorry for the loss you have suffered.”

Mr Staev, of Hove but originally from Bulgaria , worked six days a week delivering Amazon parcels for the Crawley-based courier firm. He said: “It’s not fair. I was the one with the most to lose.

“They billed me right away and now I have to wait to get my money back and maybe I will never get it. “It’s very stressful work. You have to make around 120 stops a day and if you damage the van you have to pay.”

Mr Staev managed to find a cheap van, another delivery job and friends and relatives helped him pay the money. He is still paying back the £2,384.62 to cover the cost of the stolen goods, a replacement van and the cost of getting the stolen vehicle back from Sussex police.

Sussex Police said: “Normally, fees are recoverable by the vehicle owner through their insurance company. [The force] recovers between 10 and 3,000 vehicles a year, of which 10 per cent are stolen vehicles.”

Fast UK Parcel said it had a policy of not leaving keys in the ignition. Mr Staev claimed the thieves watched him and took a chance when he dropped the keys. Amazon UK declined to comment.


WILLIAM Westein is one of the ringleaders of a Whitehawk gang which burgled homes and stole cars.

Described as one of the gang’s “prime movers”, he was sentenced to 18 months in a Young Offender Institution, but had already served nine months, so was released on licence the same day as his sentencing in December 2015.

He had 35 previous convictions for 79 offences since 2009.

The 11 members, some as young as 16 at the time of their crimes, grew up together on Brighton’s Whitehawk estate and ran the racket like a “business,” using the money they made to buy cigarettes and cannabis.

At the time, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall said they “traumatised” and besmirched” their neighbourhood.