Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Mail thief stole from birthday cards to pay gambling debt

Post box

Post box


A former postal worker could face prison after stealing cash from birthday cards to pay off a gambling debt, a court heard.

Stephen Brown, 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft amounting to £140 at Exeter magistrates court.

The Newton Poppleford man, who had worked for Royal Mail for more than five years, was caught earlier this year by investigators following complaints greetings cards had been tampered with.

Prosecutor Nicholas Bradley said on September 9 test packages were used to detect possible theft at Exeter mail centre, and after noticing the defendant acting suspiciously the investigators confronted him, finding £45 in cash on his person.

Brown admitted he had stolen the money upon interview, and a search of his car revealed a further £95 in cash he had taken from postal packets over the previous fortnight.

His solicitor Vanessa Francis told the court he had gambling debts with no way to pay the money back, so began stealing from cards during nightshifts sorting through mail.

She revealed Brown, a family man who lived with his partner and two children in Hillside, had also become addicted to marijuana to relieve back pain.

He and his partner are running up debts and his solicitor said he was in a downward spiral over the summer.

Miss Francis added he is thankful he was caught when he was, maintaining he has since kicked his drug habit, but has resigned from his position with Royal Mail

But magistrates on Friday said they were treating the matter very seriously, and ordered a report from the probation service ahead of sentencing.

Brown was warned the report would look at all options, including the potential for him to be committed to crown court and a possible custodial sentence, deeming his theft to be a serious breach of trust.

He was given unconditional bail to appear before magistrates again on December 15.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

Residents have the chance to learn first aid and how to use a new life-saving device at Sidford Social Hall next week.

Read more

The MetOffice has renewed its yellow weather warning for rain and thunderstorms across East Devon today (Saturday).

Read more

A scriptwriter known for his work on House of Cards and Pride and Prejudice spoke about his life’s work to nearly 100 people in Sidmouth.

Read more

Project leaders sitting on a wealth of information from 1,863 Sidmouth homes have fast-tracked an interim report on Port Royal to feed into a consultation.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:50

Weeds and overgrown grass at a ‘gateway to Sidmouth’ have prompted calls for action before the arrival of Britain in Bloom judges.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:34

Drivers are being warned to be careful in Sidmouth after today’s downpour which has caused flooding in the town.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:20

Powers to tackle antisocial behaviour in Sidmouth town centre have been introduced.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:44

Youngsters learning to save lives at sea got their first hands-on experience with state-of-the-art first aid training kit on Saturday.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:29

A diary giving a woman’s perspective on 19th century life in the Sid Valley has been reprinted by popular demand.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:44

Ottery’s ‘committed and dedicated’ PCSO will walk her last patrol next month after nearly 15 years of service to the town.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder


Show Job Lists

Find planning applications