Postman stole mail and sold items on eBay

A postman stole thousands of items of mail and sold the contents online or gave them to his girlfriend as gifts, a court was told.

Postman Craig Richards
Postman Craig Richards

Craig Richards set up an eBay account to sell DVDs he had stolen from post he was supposed to deliver.

The 34-year-old also gave stolen hair straighteners, fake eyelashes and earrings to his girlfriend, pretending he had bought them as gifts.

Richards, who had worked for Royal Mail for eight-and-a-half years, appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court yesterday, where he admitted theft by employee and opening postal packets.

The court was told he stole up to 4,000 packages while working in the Wolverhampton area to pay off debts.

Richards, who now lives in Surrey, appeared at court alongside David Hodgetts, Robert Shaw and David Dixon, who had accepted stolen items from him.

Richards’ offences came to light after his Royal Mail bosses launched an investigation following complaints from members of the public.

Mr John Dove, prosecuting on behalf of the Royal Mail, said that after the local delivery office received a number of complaints from customers who had not received mail, they launched a surveillance operation.

Richards seen to not stick to his delivery route and was arrested. His house and car were searched and police found 2,300 postal packets, 696 open items, and 436 greetings cards.

The items Richards stolen were worth around £4,408.

Mr Dove told the court police discovered an eBay account which Richards had been selling stolen DVDs on.

“It was a gross breach of trust,” Mr Dove added.

Richards told police he was stealing post to give to Shaw, aged 34, of Pritchard Avenue, Wednesfield, Dixon, 42, of Blackwood Way, Fordhouses and Hodgetts, 35, Moathouse Lane, Wednesfield, to pay off debts he owed them. More undelivered post was found at their homes.

Mrs Nishi Kumar, defending Richards, said: “He had gone through a difficult time in his personal life.

“He was in some difficulties and ended up taking a loan from these people.”

Dixon admitted handling stolen goods, Hodgetts pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property and Shaw admitted possessing criminal property.

Miss Nicole Steers, representing all three, said they felt intimidated by Richards which is why they had the stolen items.

All four men will be sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court on November 14. They were given unconditional bail.