Postman spared jail after stealing mail

A former Dereham postman has been spared jail to allow him to seek help for his gambling addiction that drove him to steal hundreds of pounds from mail.

A former Dereham postman has been spared jail to allow him to seek help for his gambling addiction that drove him to steal hundreds of pounds from mail.

Adam Allenden, 35, abused his position of trust working in Dereham delivery office by opening mail, stealing about 100 packages and letters and about £270 in cash and burning 80 items of post to cover his tracks.

Two of his victims, Stacey Thompson and Joshua Kinning, were children who had money stolen from their birthday cards.

Allenden, of Parkers Close in Wymondham, was given a six month jail sentence, suspended for a year, to allow him to continue to attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

He was also ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work, pay £1,000 costs and to keep a curfew for six months.

Allenden admitted theft of an unknown number of postal packets and also burning an unknown number of packets between April 1 and April 12 last year, as well as theft of £35 from five postal packets and opening packets on April 12 last year.

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The court heard that the dad-of-two had been gambling since he began betting on horses and playing fruit machines aged 18 but that his habit had spiralled out of control and become an addiction.

Magistrates were told that his wife was unaware how serious his gambling problem was until Royal Mail investigators raided their home while they were holding a birthday party for one of their children.

Presiding magistrate Peter Stokes told Allenden: “The severity of the offences to which you have pleaded guilty are extremely serious.

“The public are entitled to expect that if something is posted to them it will arrive untampered with, you have breached that trust.

“Your motivation for committing these offences was your gambling addiction and if you can resolve that hopefully the dishonesty will go away.”

Allenden had worked at the delivery office for about three-and-a-half years and Hugh Cauthery, prosecuting, said the Royal Mail had been alerted following complaints by members of the public about missing money and resealed post.

Several packages were tracked on April 12 last year and found to be missing money and when Allenden was interviewed by Royal Mail investigators he confessed he had been tampering with and stealing mail for about a year.

Jakki Upton, defending, said that Allenden had not gambled for about three months and that he was attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings every week, adding he had the full support of his wife.

She said: “I hope to persuade you to suspend any prison sentence to enable him to continue his meetings with Gamblers Anonymous and set matters right in his life.”

The court heard that Allenden had previous convictions for offences of a similar nature in the 90s and speaking after the case a spokesman for Royal Mail said that criminal record checks were brought in on new employees from October 2004.

He said: “We will always seek to prosecute the tiny minority of people who abuse their position of trust.”

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