Lowestoft postman stole mail

Amy GrayA postman stole nearly 1,500 packages from a sorting office to take money and vouchers from them, a court heard yesterday.Amy Gray

A postman stole nearly 1,500 packages from a sorting office to take money and vouchers from them, a court heard yesterday.

Daniel Brackley-Passfield, 54, of Gainsborough Drive, Lowestoft, was working for Royal Mail when he stole the packages.

He pleaded guilty to the theft at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court yesterday and was given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work.

He was also told to pay �93.54 compensation to Royal Mail for the overtime given when the mail was finally delivered - years after being posted.

The court heard that Brackley-Passfield took 1,464 postal packages between January 23, 2006 and December 10, 2008 from a Lowestoft sorting office.

While sorting inward mail, he deliberately selected the packages that looked like they might contain money - for example, greetings cards - and diverted them to his own round.

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He took them to his home at the time, in Minden Road, and stored them in the loft after taking any money out of them. It was not until he moved and a new tenant found them that police were alerted, the court was told.

Hugh Cauthery, prosecuting for Royal Mail, said that during interview and under caution, Brackley-Passfield said he was attempting to get money from the packages, but was unable to say how much he had stolen in total.

'The defendant went on to say that he used the money for day-to-day living expenses,' said Mr Cauthery.

Brackley-Passfield had worked at Royal Mail for five years and nine months when was suspended in March this year after the letters were discovered. He is now unemployed.

Lucy Brakewell, for Brackley-Passfield, said her client had money problems after separating from his wife and was 'very, very ashamed' of the theft.

She told the court that he 'buried his head in the sand' after leaving the Minden Road property with the letters still in the loft and had since been in contact with the Citizens Advice Bureau over his finances.

'He's not a career criminal; he's not the sort of person to try and hide his tracks. He simply made a gross mistake. He had no mind to behave in this manner when he took the job at the Royal Mail,' she said.

'He's a man of previous good character and this is his first time in court.'

She added that he was the main carer for his new partner and if he was given a custodial sentence, he would lose his house and she would have nowhere to live.

A spokesman for Royal Mail said: 'Royal Mail and its people have a zero tolerance approach to any instances of theft and we take decisive action against those found to have tampered with the mail in any way.

'Our security teams work closely with our postmen and women to ensure that such instances are detected and dealt with as swiftly as possible.

'We will always seek to prosecute the tiny minority of employees who abuse their position of trust and we welcome convictions for those found guilty.'