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A postal worker who pocketed £4,000 of customers' cash and valuables instead of putting them in the post has been jailed for 18 weeks.
Peter John Garry of Alleyndale Road, Dagenham, was behind the Post Office counter in a Romford WHSmith when he trousered three mobile phones worth £1,000, £450 cash and a Breitling watch valued at £2,450.
The 31-year old pleaded guilty to four counts of theft at Barkingside Magistrates' Court on Thursday, 14 November.
Magistrate, Stephen Brown, said on sentencing: "You've brought suspicion on fellow staff through your actions, deprived the victims of their goods and breached the high level of trust you had."
The Royal Mail launched an investigation after getting reports of special deliveries going missing in July 2018.
The court heard how Garry took the phones - selling two but registering one in his name with Apple - before taking the Breitling watch in May.
He was rumbled after getting caught on CCTV stuffing £200 in his pocket, not knowing investigators had planted a packet of cash to catch him.
Of the £3,900 in money and goods stolen only the £200 has been recovered. Royal Mail paid customers £780 in compensation.
Prosecutor, Robert Dacre, described the case as a breach of trust of Royal Mail, WHSmith, and "more crucially members of the public".
The court heard an "impulsive" Garry, who had no previous convictions and had got another job at Romford's Vue cinema, resigned as soon as he was caught, admitting his crime at the earliest opportunity.
Miss A. Khan, defending, said: "He has expressed a great deal of remorse. He was a man of good character prior to his offence."
Should he be sent to jail, it would have a "detrimental effect" on his seven-year old son for whom he is the main carer, she added.
At the time of the offences he was struggling financially - taking home £120 per week - and it was "a temptation for him", Miss Khan said, urging the court to impose a community order not custody.
But the magistrate said: "People do hit hard times. You've got to work your way through and not break the law to get through them."
Garry was sentenced concurrently to 26 weeks reduced to 18 for each offence of stealing the watch and phones and 12 weeks reduced to eight each for stealing £250 and £200.
He was ordered to repay the £780, but because of his means was let off paying back the £3,900.