A POSTMAN stole money and gift cards from parcels and envelopes in order to fund his heroin habit, a court has heard.
Ryan Kestell, aged 24, of Lynwood Terrace, Bosvenna View, Bodmin, admitted three charges of theft and attempted theft in August and September of this year.
The first charge involved £50 in money and a £20 Next gift card from postal packets, the second £15 from a greetings card postal packet, and the third an attempt to steal 32 postal packets of unknown value, belonging to the Royal Mail Group Limited, at Bodmin.
Sentencing was adjourned until December 20 in order for Kestell to be referred by the Probation Service to a drug counselling team.
John Evans, prosecuting on behalf of Royal Mail, said Kestell had been employed for more than four years at the time of the offences.
In the middle of this year the Post Office had begun to receive complaints that greeting cards which were posted in Bodmin were not being delivered to the intended recipients.
The Post Office checked who was carrying out the collections and Kestell became a suspect because he was making the collections on the majority of occasions when complaints had been raised.
On August 18 three greetings packages were prepared as a test and posted in Bodmin on the rounds covered by Kestell.
Of the three packages, two were not delivered and the third arrived with a tear on the outside.
On September 5 four packets were posted from the main foyer at Morrisons, one containing a £10 note and a £5 note.
Kestell collected the mail bags and was seen in his van spending 10 minutes sorting through the post.
Royal Mail investigators put him under arrest and he voluntarily went back to the office. Greetings cards were found on the shelf of his van and the £5 note was found.
Kestell agreed that he, his car and his home could be searched, and a £20 gift card was found as well as a half- torn greetings card.
After first denying the theft of the £5 he was given proof that the test envelope was marked, and then admitted having opened it.
He said he had used the £10 note to buy his lunch.
Mr Evans said Kestell admitted that he had been opening greetings cards for a month and had taken about £50.
He said he once had a heroin habit and needed £20 to £30 a day to feed it.
Nicola Chandler, for the defence, said Kestell felt totally disgusted and embarrassed by his actions.
He had got in with the wrong peer group, who used drugs, and he had dabbled in them but had managed to stop, she said.
He was now living on benefits with his mother, father and long-term girlfriend, who was expecting his baby in March next year.
She presented references which said his actions were totally out of character.
After an adjournment Ms Chandler said the Probation Service wanted to refer him to a drug testing and counselling team, and the magistrates adjourned sentencing to December 20.