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A ROYAL Mail worker stole M&S vouchers worth £500 from postal packets while working at a village delivery office near Chester.
Jane Wendy Riley, 57, had been employed at the Tarporley branch for more than 17 years when she swiped the gift cards.
She was stopped by a security guard at the Cheshire Oaks branch of M&S on March 9 last year after staff spotted the vouchers she was using were stolen.
Riley, who has savings of £120,000, even gave some of the vouchers to her sister, who had no idea they were stolen.
At Chester Magistrates Court this morning (July 5) she was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and must also pay a whopping £3,971 in court and investigation costs.
Andrea Fitzgerald, prosecuting on behalf of Royal Mail, said Riley had been interviewed by company investigators but refused to comment at the time.
However, she later accepted she was “solely responsible for taking the vouchers” and admitted giving some to her sister “who wasn’t aware of her offending”.
The court heard the vouchers had been destined for a number of residents in the CW6 Tarporley area before they were stolen.
Quentin Neal, defending, said Riley was a woman of previous good character and the court had been sent a number of glowing references about her.
A former HGV driver, she is “someone who has worked all her life” and her role as a full-time postal worker was a “job that she loved”.
“She knows she has thrown all that away because of her actions,” Mr Neal said. “She’s lost her job, she’s lost her good character and she’s full of remorse.”
Her father had died after a battle with cancer and she now cared for her mother who has dementia, the solicitor added.
He also accepted the thefts were “bizarre” given the large amount of savings Riley had amassed.
Magistrates told Riley she had put her sister in a “terrible position” and as a Royal Mail worker who stole from postal packets there was a significant breach of trust.
But they agreed to suspend the sentence, meaning the defendant will only go to prison if she commits another offence within the next year.
As part of her sentence, Riley, of Bates Mill Lane, Beeston, Tarporley, must also pay a victim surcharge of £115.