Postman steals £15,000 worth of packages

Emma Woollacott

A Stockport postman and his wife made more than £15,000 by selling stolen packages on eBay.

Andrew Barratt, 49, pinched around 400 items, including satnavs, digital cameras and computer games. His wife Michelle, 38, then sold the goods on eBay.

The pair got away with their theft for four years before suspicious Royal Mail investigators posted an iPad with a tracking device to an address on his rounds. When it didn't arrive, it was traced to Barratt's home in Stockport.

The police were called and found a large amount of electrical equipment inside, including two items - a camcorder and a Sony Walkman - that hasd been reported stolen to police.

Mrs Barratt claimed she had bought the items at a car boot sale - but some of the computer games found in the house turned out to have been launched only a few days before.

And an eBay account under the name 'ShellB76' run by Mrs Barratt was found to have sold 463 items, mostly electrical goods, since June 2010. The retail value was nearly £21,000.

Most of the items had been shipped by Amazon, which reported around 2,000 lost packages in the SK3 and SK4 postcodes along Barratt's round.

Barratt admitted theft and converting criminal property at Minshull Street Crown Court and was jailed for 15 months. His wife was given 120 hours community service.

In defence, Milena Bennett said that Barratt had stolen the goods while "self-medicating" psoriasis with cannabis and amphetamines.

Judge Leslie Hull said: "The pair of you have involved yourselves in a thoroughly dishonest scheme."

It's by no means the first time that postal workers have been caught stealing - in 2013, for example, a Royal Mail driver was jailed for stealing £230,000 worth of parcels.

"Royal Mail has a zero tolerance approach to any dishonesty and that stance is shared by the overwhelming majority of postmen and women. We will not allow the actions of any individual to damage the good reputation of our thousands of hard-working postmen and women," says Royal Mail in a statement.

"It is a criminal offence to tamper with or delay the delivery of mail and anyone caught doing so will face serious disciplinary measures. Royal Mail will always seek to prosecute the tiny minority of people who abuse their position of trust."

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