A HAULAGE worker has won his fight against a Blackburn firm after being sacked for selling off scrap metal and splitting the proceeds with colleagues.

Norman Kingston was dismissed from Kenyon Road Haulage, based in Thornley Avenue, after an investigation and disciplinary hearing into the scrap metal sales.

Mr Kingston, a fleet engineer who had worked there for 17 years, insisted this was common practice at the company and throughout the trade.

An employment tribunal heard that the engineer had a skip on the premises and made £700 to £800 per year from selling offcuts, which he shared with colleagues after they received payment from EMR, a scrap merchant.

But transport manager George Campbell launched an inquiry into the matter in October 2011 - and the following February Mr Kingston received an e-mail telling him the money should be forwarded to management in future.

The tribunal heard Mr Kingston said he had discussed the matter with bosses in 2007 but he was sacked in early March for gross misconduct.

An appeal was heard by Wayne Kenyon, the firm's managing director, but he ruled that Mr Kingston had 'breached the trust and confidence' placed in him by management and the decision was upheld.

An employment tribunal held in Manchester decided Mr Kingston was unfairly dismissed in June 2013. Kenyon later sought to overturn the verdict at the Employment Appeal Tribunal, sitting at the High Court in London.

Geoffrey Isherwood, for Kenyon, said it was clear from Mr Kingston's contract and the company handbook that such gratuities were not acceptable.

But Para Gorasia, for Mr Kingston, told the tribunal the company had not clearly set out the allegation against his client and the managing director did not 'engage in any meaningful way in the appeal'.

Dismissing the company's appeal, The Honorable Lady Stacey said that Kenyon had not carried out a 'reasonable investigation' and had no 'genuine belief' that Mr Kingston was guilty of gross misconduct.

Lady Stacey added: "It is clear, when read as a whole, that the employment tribunal accepted that the claimant (Kingston) had told the respondent (Kenyon) about the skip in the garage, had told them that it was sent from time to time to EMR, and that the money paid by that company for the scrap was divided up amongst the workers including the claimant."