Employee who stole from Post Office ordered to pay back £37,000

A Post Office employee from the Black Country who carried out an ‘inside job’ burglary and left a clue to implicate an innocent colleague has been ordered to pay back more than £37,000.

Omar Ahmed
Omar Ahmed

Omar Ahmed, 26, of Southbank Road, in Cradley Heath, had been jailed for two years and two months at Warwick Crown Court earlier this year after pleading guilty to the burglary.

At the same hearing Mohammed Ahad, 24, of Milford Croft, in Rowley Regis, who had admitted the burglary and two charges of fraud, was jailed for a total of two-and-a-half years.

But on that occasion a confiscation hearing against Ahmed under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned for an investigation into his finances.

At the resumed hearing prosecutor Andrew Tucker said the benefit from the burglary at the post office in Henley Street, in Stratford-upon-Avon, had been £87,295. Ahmed was said to have assets totalling £37,001 including an insurance payment for injuries he suffered in a road accident.

So Judge Peter Cooke ordered £37,001 to be confiscated from him under the Proceeds of Crime Act and paid in compensation to the Post Office – with a ten-month prison sentence if it is not paid within three months.

Justin Houston-Roberts, defending, said: “He has recently been released from prison. He does not have £37,000 in the bank.

“The money he got as compensation from the accident has gone. He’s going to have to borrow it from family members and friends.”

At the original hearing the court heard that Ahmed had been employed by the Post Office for three years in Acocks Green, in Birmingham, before being moved to the Henley Street premises. There he was employed as the manager of the shop part of the business, without his own keys to the post office ‘fortress’ area and safe, or knowledge of access codes.

But it was easy for him to watch other people using the codes and to borrow the key to get to other parts of the premises – where security procedures were not always followed.

Ahmed then recommended his friend Ahad for a job as a part-time assistant in the shop – and the two of them capitalised on the failure to follow proper procedures.

Exploited

In January 2018, Ahmed was seen by another member of staff fiddling with the CCTV system and taking photographs of it on his phone to check what the cameras could capture.

On Saturday, January 6, Ahmed asked a female colleague if he could borrow her keys to get through the secure area, which prosecutor Jonathan Veasey-Pugh said was not unusual.

But he failed to return them, although he claimed he had done so, and after he finished work at 5.30pm, two staff members remained to cash up the Post Office and put £84,059 in the safe.

At 11.15pm that night, having left their mobile phones at the Merhaba shisha bar in Aston, in Birmingham, so they could not be traced to Stratford and to help give them a false alibi, Ahad and Ahmed returned to Henley Street.

They let themselves in, using the keys Ahmed had retained and his knowledge of the alarm codes, removed the hard drive from the CCTV system and stole the £84,059 from the safe.

They then left their colleague’s keys in the premises, ‘presumably in an attempt to implicate her,’ said Mr Veasey-Pugh.

She did come under suspicion as a result, and when Ahmed and Ahad were arrested three days later they put forward an alibi that they were at the Merhaba shisha bar at the time.

Jailing the two of them, Judge Barry Berlin had told them: “There was significant planning and the setting up of false alibis.

“You exploited a fault in the security system, and you both tried to incriminate others. That was a spiteful and deliberate act to cover your own backs.”

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