A former postman from Wolverhampton has been jailed after stealing thousands of pounds worth of parcels.
Father-of-three Stuart Wardlaw, aged 41, conspired with his wife Kelly to snatch £11,000 worth of goods from customers during a two-year spell working at Royal Mail, Wolverhampton magistrates heard.
The 41-year-old took computer games, DVDs, clothes, shoes, toys and vaping kits between January 2016 and February 2018 and sold them on eBay with the help of his wife, also 41.
Wardlaw, of Warstones Road, Penn, was eventually found out after he listed military figurines on eBay, the court heard.
The victim of the theft saw the figures and investigated who was selling them and, with the help of Royal Mail, found the account belonged to Wardlaw.
He was also caught with seven greetings cards in his postal bag when he was approached by Royal Mail staff, but still claimed he was planning to deliver them.
In a statement the couple expressed their remorse over the situation, while Wardlaw wiped away tears and told his wife he loved her and was sorry as he was taken into custody.
Defence lawyer Mr Patel suggested a suspended sentence was appropriate for the parents, who blamed personal issues and financial worries for their decision to steal parcels.
The court heard that in 2015 they had organised to get married, spending large sums of money on bookings, before they were evicted from their home and took out loans.
Wardlaw, who had worked for Royal Mail since 2010 and had no previous convictions, resigned from the company in April this year, the court was told.
In passing sentence, district judge Graham Wilkinson said: “99 per cent of people working at Royal Mail are honest and hardworking, but bad apples like you cast a shadow over the postal service.”
Wardlaw pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and was sentenced to three months in prison, but will be released after six weeks before serving 12 months on probation.
His wife, of the same address, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and was spared an immediate custodial sentence so that she could care for their children aged one, 10 and 18.
She was given a one-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and is required to serve 120 hours of unpaid work and pay a surcharge of £115.
District Judge Wilkinson added: "There is no doubt they would have continued to steal had they not been caught.
"A message must be sent to people in positions of trust.
"These cases are always reported and so they should be."
More than £6,000 will be paid in compensation to Royal Mail and will be taken directly from Wardlaw's pension with the company.