India origin postman jailed for stealing gifts


London : An Indian origin postman in Bolton was sentenced to one year in prison after he was found guilty of stealing gifts and cheques worth thousands of pounds he was to deliver.

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Dipak Patel, 33, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft and was sentenced Saturday by a Bolton Crown Court. Judge Roger Warnock described his offences as "sheer lunacy".

Patel used to open envelopes and packages and steal cheques, CDs, mobile phone SIM cards, vouchers, bank cards and pin numbers, which he used to sell to fund his drug habit.

"The public is entitled to believe they can rely on the postal service. Your thefts have left a lot of people distressed and upset and I hope you feel suitably ashamed," the judge said.

The postman was caught earlier this year after the Royal Mail and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) set up a trap to catch him, reported This is Lancashire newspaper.

After the trap was laid, Patel's bosses kept him under surveillance and saw him steal a few envelopes and parcels from a colleague's round and put them into his own bag.

"He accepted that he had been targeting packages of a financial nature and told police that he was stealing to fund a drug habit," prosecutor Michael Maher told the court.

When Patel was caught, investigators found all the parcels in his bag along with a letter containing details of a pin number, 13 unopened envelopes, a bank card, Marks and Spencer vouchers worth 20 pounds and 14 pounds in cash.

Patel's house was also raided where 34 opened envelopes, 14 mobile phone SIM cards, a cheque book, five bank cards and a driving licence were recovered.

Prosecutors said that investigations revealed Patel had stolen a total of 106 cheques worth 14,462 pounds.