A POSTMAN who admitted hiding more than 20,000 letters and packages at his home has been jailed for 16 months.
Matthew Robinson, 35, hoarded the undelivered mail at his home on Lea Lane, Featherstone, over a period of two years and five months before he was finally caught by Royal Mail investigators.
Leeds Crown Court heard the former employee had opened more than 8,290 parcels from businesses including Amazon, HMV and Love Film – but left 10,891 packages untouched in sacks.
Jailing him for 16 months for theft and intentionally delaying postal packages, Judge Sally Cahill said: “It’s my judgement that any postal operator who takes mail so much of it is delayed must go to prison.”
Adam Beaumont, prosecuting for Royal Mail, told the court Robinson was placed under surveillance by his employers in December last year.
The postman, who had been working for Royal Mail since October 2007, was filmed taking a package not intended for his delivery area from Pontefract Post Office and was stopped by officers when he was out on his round.
During an interview he claimed to have taken the package after misreading the address on the label but admitted he had mail at home which he had failed to deliver and had intended to “bring back”.
Investigators searched his home and found thousands of open and unopened letters and packages – with some from banks including Royal Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Yorkshire Bank and First Direct.
Stamps on the packages revealed he had failed to deliver mail during every month except one between July 2008 and December 2010.
When asked what he had done with the contents of the opened parcels he said he had “probably binned them”.
Mr Beaumont said Royal Mail were able to send the unopened packages to their rightful owners, along with a letter of apology for the delay.
Robinson pleaded guilty to theft and intentionally delaying postal packages. The court heard the value of the items he had stolen was not known.
Stephen Swan, mitigating, said Robinson had been suffering from depression after a bereavement and the breakdown of the relationship with his partner.
He said his primary motive was not to steal and Robinson’s anxiety and depression increased as the number of undelivered packages grew.
The court heard how on some days he would drive to the area where he was due to make deliveries but felt unable to get out of the van.
Mr Swan said: “He accepts the impact of his actions.
“The public confidence in the system was let down. It came as a relief when the matter came to light and he was able to open up about events.”
Sentencing, the judge said she had taken into account Robinson’s previous good character.