A postman who deprived nearly 100 people of birthday cards and gifts over a two-year period has narrowly avoided jail.
Marc Milne, 26, of Queensway, Leyland, had been an exemplary postman, working for eight years at the Preston South Royal Mail depot, until his offending started around two years ago, Preston Magistrates’ Court was told. He was caught out when he tried to use a Next voucher on Deepdale Retail Park which had been reported stolen.
Two test letters were then introduced into the system. They were not destined to be delivered by him and should have been given to the appropriate postman.
Royal Mail was alerted and an internal investigation, costing the firm around £2,848, was launched.
Milne, a father-of-two, appeared to cry in the dock as Denise Fitzpatrick, prosecuting, said: “In November a complaint was received regarding no receipt of a gift card.
“Next confirmed the vouchers had been used along with other vouchers at Deepdale Retail Park on December 2. The value exceeded the voucher value and a debit card was used to pay the rest.
“The defendant’s address was traced.
“Two test letters were then introduced into the system. They were not destined to be delivered by him and should have been given to the appropriate postman. He didn’t do this and as he was leaving the depot he was stopped.”
The court heard his postal vehicle was searched and eight cards, not due to be delivered by him, were found.
Seven gift cards and other items, including cash, were seized from his home.
He later admitted the money was collected from cards he had stolen that morning and that he had stolen around £300 in cash, as well as other items like DVDs and computer games, over the last two years.
Royal Mail pieced back together 93 pieces of mail – including 79 greetings cards.
They had to be delivered with an explanatory note and 23 people replied, reporting a total of £390 missing.
Milne admitted three counts of theft of postal packets, and fraud by false representation.
He received 12 months suspended for two years and has been ordered to do 240 hours unpaid work.
Milne must also pay £710 towards compensating the affected customers and £100 costs.