BOSSES at the Flying Trade Group have thanked police officers who helped bring Lewis Howe to justice.

The former IT professional was given a ten month suspended jail term after admitting to hacking into their system after being dismissed.

The Parkeston-based firm, owns subsidiary company Surya Foods which provides international products to supermarkets in the UK.

Another of their companies - Surya Hotels - runs more than a dozen venues across the country including the iconic George Hotel in Colchester High Street.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Howe deliberately targeted key head office staff he had direct dealing with when he was employed as an IT professional and deleted their user accounts.

His actions left more than 300 people unable to use the system.

Computers and printers were also taken offline.

The Flying Trade Group employs more than 1,400 people and Howe’s actions cost them £184,322 in terms of a loss of trading and to restore their IT system to where it was before the attack

A spokesman said: “We take all criminal activity and theft very seriously, so we are pleased that justice has been served.

“Additionally, we are extremely thankful to the police in their tenacity in putting the evidence together on this complex digital case.”