Ex-postman John Woodhouse jailed for stealing cycling gear packages from mail
A former postman and "keen cyclist" who was stealing cycling goods from postal packages in Northern Ireland has been sentenced to six months in jail.
John Francis Woodhouse appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday to learn his fate after previously admitting a charge of theft of mail in transmission.
Woodhouse (43), of Bellisk Drive, Cushendall, Co Antrim, stole postal packets on unknown dates between June 10, 2016 and August 8, 2017 at the Royal Mail Ballymena Delivery Office.
District Judge Peter King said: "This is a gross breach of trust. You were employed as a postal delivery man.
"I struggle to see a greater breach of trust than a postman stealing the mail.
"In order for the public to have confidence in the postal system, those who operate it have to have the utmost integrity."
The judge said the public have to have "a significant degree of faith" in the postal service and as such the court had to send out a message "that this sort of thing is never appropriate" as he sentenced him to six months in jail.
A prosecutor said cycling-related items were going missing. The court heard it was known that Woodhouse was "a very keen cyclist".
After a tracking device was put on a package from a cycling firm, it was noted it left the sorting office at the same time as Woodhouse. When he returned, investigators were waiting for him.
The defendant admitted stealing the test packet and admitted taking other cycling gear packages.
Defence barrister Neil Moore, who previously said the defendant no longer works for Royal Mail, said it was a "gross breach of trust".
But he added that the defendant had made "full and frank admissions".
He said all the goods were recovered from either the defendant's car or his home.
Mr Moore said the offences happened after a bereavement "and depressive issues came to the fore".
The barrister said Woodhouse did not need the items which were not sold but were held in his home.
Mr Moore also explained the defendant had expressed "extreme regret".
He said it was accepted the case crossed the custody threshold. Mr Moore said Woodhouse had "broug ht great shame upon his own family".
The defendant was released on his own bail of £500 pending an appeal.