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Royal Mail cleaner caught 'red-handed' at Flint delivery office stealing mail containing gift cards

16 Jul 2019, 11:06 ... ift-cards/

A CLEANER at the Royal Mail’s Flint delivery office was caught “red-handed” stealing mail containing gift cards, a court was told.

Susan James, 61, came under scrutiny after an anniversary card with a £20 gift voucher posted by a woman from Flint to her parents in Benllech in Anglesey on September 27 last year failed to arrive.

Jennie Houlgrave went to Asda to cancel the card, but she was told it had been spent two days later. CCTV footage from Asda’s Flint store showed James using the stolen card to buy tea bags and cigarettes.

The Royal Mail launched a probe after enquiries at the Flint delivery office revealed that James was prone to handling the miss-sort mail from the office’s miss-sort frame despite being told to stop by her manager.

North East Wales Magistrates’ Court heard investigators placed two greetings cards as test items on the miss-sort frame. When they both went missing the trail led to James.

Andrea Fitzgerald, prosecuting for the Royal Mail, said when James she was asked to unlock one of her cleaning rooms she appeared evasive. She came out with a mail tray covered with back bin bags, but when she eventually agreed to put the tray down 52 greetings gift card items were found under the bags along with the missing test items.

Officers also found a leaving card in an opened letter addressed to a former employee of the delivery office.

James, who had worked as a cleaner for the Royal Mail for 12 years, denied stealing the card sent to a relative on Anglesey and said she had found the gift card in the Mail’s vehicle compound when she was brushing up. She said she thought it had been thrown away, but admitted she was in the wrong spending it.

When asked about the 52 items of greetings mail found in her room she said “I didn’t know they were there”.

She said she did the tray with miss-sorts at the office and she must have picked up the tray with the cards in by mistake.

She also denied stealing money from staff who had contributed into a cash pot for the staff leaver, claiming she hadn’t finished the collection which was why the leaving card was in her cupboard.

James, of Dee Cottages, Flint denied three charges of theft from her employer and one of stealing £50 cash belonging to Craig Robbins.

But magistrates found her guilty on all four counts. She had also previously admitted committing fraud by dishonestly using the gift card at Asda.

Bethan Jones, defending, said James had made a “genuine mistake” storing the mail items.

James will be sentenced on Wednesday.

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