A NORTHUMBERLAND postman failed to deliver thousands of items of mail as he struggled to cope with work and personal pressures, a court heard yesterday.
Lee Regan had worked for the mail service for ten-and-a-half years when more than 10,000 postal packages from his round were found during a search of his car and home.
Inquiries began after council workers found 13 packages in the area of Blyth where Regan – who worked from the town’s delivery office – lived.
One was addressed to him and the other 12 were addressed to various flats in Cramlington and bore postmarks between August 23 and 24, said John Wilkinson, prosecuting at Newcastle Crown Court.
“When the defendant’s work record was examined, it was found he had been on loan to the Cramlington delivery office on those particular dates and it had been his task to deliver that recovered mail,” Mr Wilkinson said.
“Following that discovery, the delivery office manager received a number of complaints of non-receipt of postal packages to various addresses in the delivery area covered by the defendant.
“It was against that background investigators from Royal Mail attended the Blyth delivery office where the defendant had returned to work.”
Mr Wilkinson said although Regan told officials he had delivered all his mail, a search of his car and home led to the discovery of 10,393 packages, 253 of which had been opened.
Interviewed, Regan said he had tried his best to deliver the mail but that changes in his working times meant he had been unable to finish his delivery in time to collect his child from school.
The 32-year-old, of Swaledale Court, Cowpen, Blyth, admitted interfering with mail between April and November last year, delaying 10,393 packages, intentionally delaying 12 packages and theft of the 253 packages found opened.
Robert Adams, defending, said last year had been particularly difficult for postmen because of strikes and “enormous” backlogs.
“He is not a bad man, not a criminal,” said Mr Adams. “He is extremely remorseful and ashamed of what he has done. He is someone who believes in the work ethic. He accepts what he has done is wrong.”
Regan, who has no previous convictions, was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment suspended for two years with a two-year supervision requirement and a 60-day curfew.