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Saturday, 30 August 2014

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Carlisle postman who stole from packages sentenced by court

A temporary postman who stole jewellery and football match tickets from packages he was sorting did so to fund an online gambling addiction, a court was told.

Craig Duncan McFarlane photo
Craig Duncan McFarlane

Related: Carlisle postman stole jewellery, FA Cup tickets and vouchers - court

Craig Duncan McFarlane was given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for a year when he appeared before magistrates in Carlisle.

McFarlane, 23, of Blackwell Road, Currock, got a job at the city’s Junction Street Royal Mail depot in December last year.

Bosses at the sorting office carried out covert surveillance after receiving information that McFarlane was opening packages.

During a previous court appearance, McFarlane admitted two thefts and one of intentionally opening seven postal packets in the course of their transmission by post.

Anthony Wilson, prosecuting, said: “The Post Office launched an investigation and on December 19 last year surveillance was carried out between 10.10pm and 10.55pm. McFarlane was seen opening packages.

“At 11.02pm he was approached by investigators and was cautioned.”

His home and car were also searched, the court was told.

The goods stolen included two Zippo lighters, three silver necklaces and charms, a Seiko watch worth £279, 35 gift vouchers and eight FA Cup match tickets for the Sunderland v Carlisle United match on January 5.

The vouchers had already been cashed in.

“McFarlane said he had money problems,” said Mr Wilson.

Helen Wallace, defending, said: “McFarlane has had an extremely difficult upbringing due to the sad loss of his mother who was an alcoholic. He lost her when he was 14.

“This affected him deeply and he was referred to a psychologist.”

She said McFarlane had stolen the items after becoming addicted to online gambling and to pay off a large dental bill.

“He intended to give some of the items as Christmas presents,” said Ms Wallace.

She said all of the thefts happened over a “relatively short period of time” and McFarlane was “extremely co-operative”.

“He handed over the stolen items immediately.”

She said it was an “unsophisticated theft” and that McFarlane was at “very low risk of re-offending”.

Ms Wallace handed in 21 character references in support of McFarlane, who is now unemployed.

She said it was a “one-off” matter and “not something he will repeat”. She said he was “extremely remorseful”.

McFarlane must also carry out 40 hours of unpaid work and pay a total of £769 in compensation to Royal Mail and £500 court costs.

He will be under supervision for a year.

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