Postman hoards stolen mail
A postman who hoarded more than 1,000 packages and opened greeting cards has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Paul Armstrong-Wells' dishonesty was discovered when a Royal Mail inspector carried out a routine search of his vehicle and found opened post.
A search of his home, in Everest Drive, Somercotes, revealed sealed packages which should have been delivered in Alfreton.
In total there were 1,275 delayed packages and 34 opened items.
He also had a pile of "junk mail" at his house, which he had been paid 17 to deliver, but had not.
At Derby Crown Court, Armstrong-Wells pleaded guilty to delaying post, opening packages and making a false representation.
Sentencing the father-of-two to 15 weeks in jail, suspended for two years, Judge David Pugsley said Armstrong-Wells had breached his position of trust as a postman.
Judge Pugsley said: "The reality is, if I sent you to prison, you will serve some time, you'll come out, your family will probably lose their home and you can do nothing to pay back to society.
"I have come to the view that public interest is better served by making you pay back."
He ordered the 36-year-old to pay 300 court costs, the 1,486 Royal Mail paid for the investigation and 17 for the junk mail he failed to deliver. He was also ordered to do 60 hours unpaid work.
Martin Smith, prosecuting, said that the defendant was working in the Alfreton area when the Royal Mail inspector started the investigation, on February 28.
Armstrong-Wells confessed he had unopened packages at home as well as undelivered junk mail. He said he started taking mail at the beginning of 2007 out of curiosity.
He said: "When asked if he had particularly targeted greeting cards, he said 'yes' but he had never found any money in them."
Defending Anita Goodman said: "He is a family man with two young children but for reasons he cannot fathom himself, he got into a very grave situation which involved a serious breach of trust.
"He is very remorseful. At the time, he had financial difficulties but now he and his family have sought to solve them properly. He now works as a delivery driver."
After the court hearing, a spokesman for Royal Mail said: "The company has a zero-tolerance approach to any dishonesty and that stance is shared by the overwhelming majority of postmen and women, who are honest and hard-working and who do all they can to deliver the mail safely.
"We will always seek to prosecute the tiny minority of people who abuse their position of trust.
"Royal Mail customers should be confident in our services and systems."
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