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A Parcelforce driver has been spared jail after stealing 15 packages including phones, trainers, a TV and a vacuum cleaner.
Between June and August 2015 Nicky Peverill used a loophole in the Royal Mail parcel scanning system for deliveries to take items worth £3,936, including an iPhone he sold and a set of hair straighteners.
A long investigation by Royal Mail led to him but he denied any wrongdoing. The evidence against him included adverts on the website Gumtree for various items he had stolen.
A trial had been due to take place earlier this year but just over a week before it began he pleaded to guilty to five charges of theft.
Leicester Crown Court heard the 46-year-old had worked for Parcelforce for six-and-a-half years in the past but in 2014 he took a break from work due to depression.
When he returned to work in 2015 he was put on lighter duties and covered various delivery routes, which meant suspicion fell on several of his co-workers as he began stealing items.
The court heard that Peverill, of Evington Court, Evington, Leicester, failed to scan numerous items, including the ones he stole, to make it harder for the business to find out where items had gone missing.
The case was heard at Leicester Crown Court
Philip Gibbs, representing Peverill, said it was his client's poor mental health that led to him acting out of character and carrying out the thefts. He said Peverill had become a recluse since committing the crimes.
He said: "He's in a rather sad situation now, living alone and isolated and he will lose his home if incarcerated.
"He did this when his judgement was not sound and he acted in a way in contrast to his normal conduct.
"He's lost any chance of similar employment in the future and he will have to try to rebuild his life as best he can."
Peverill received a 15-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, as well as a requirement to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the next 12 months.
Judge Nicholas Dean told Peverill: "As a long standing employee of Royal Mail I haven't the slightest doubt that you know that Royal Mail employees who steal go to prison.
"You stole on a systematic and persistent basis. You took advantage of Royal Mail's systems, which inevitably have loopholes, and by doing that cast suspicion on others.
"The public have to have confidence that people entrusted with their goods will not steal them and offences like this undermine confidence, which is part of the reason they are taken so seriously."
However, he added: "You seem to me from looking at you in the dock to be a depressed man. You need medication and to find help for the mental illness you suffer."
A further hearing will take place on June 21 to set a way for Peverill to repay Royal Mail out of his pension.