A Stowmarket postman who admitted stealing more than 170 packages has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Paul Hemingway, 53, of Clare Close appeared at Ipswich Crown Court to be sentenced after pleading guilty to four offences of theft, committed between January 1, 2014 and April 2 this year.
The court heard that Royal Mail launched an investigation after officials discovered that packages were going missing from the Stowmarket sorting office.
Prosecuting, Nicola May said investigators used test packages to trap Hemingway and saw him picking out items which appeared to be greetings cards from mail awaiting delivery.
As Hemingway left the office to begin his deliveries he was stopped and taken to a manager’s office.
On the way he was seen to place something in a bin which turned out to be part of a gift voucher from one of the test packages, said Miss May.
A search revealed Hemingway to be in possession of cash and cheques from other test packages.
Miss May told the court that a search of Hemingway’s home uncovered 69 items of mail.
Hemingway had admitted targeting items of mail with the intention of stealing the contents.
When interviewed, Hemingway said he had acted ‘out of greed’ and not because he had a £6,000 credit card debt and other debts amounting to £15,000.
Mr Recorder Ian Evans said he accepted that Hemingway was ‘thoroughly ashamed’ of his behaviour and imposed a four month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.
In addition, Hemingway will have to complete 250 hours of unpaid community work, pay £600 in compensation and £1,000 towards the cost of the prosecution.