John Francis Woodhouse, who no longer works for Royal Mail, was caught after tracker was placed in package

A former postman from Northern Ireland has been jailed for six months after being found guilty of stealing packages containing cycling kit from his local delivery office.

John Francis Woodhouse, a keen cyclist from Cushendall, County Antrim admitted a charge of theft of mail in transmission after stealing a number of packages over a 14-month period between June 2016 and August 2017.

Woodhouse, who no longer works for Royal Mail, was caught after a tracking device was placed in a package by a cycling firm, with investigators waiting for Woodhouse at the delivery office after the package containing the tracking device was seen to leave the delivery office at the same time as him.

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“This is a gross breach of trust. You were employed as a postal delivery man,” District Judge Peter King said at Ballymena Magistrates Court, as reported by the Belfast Telegraph.

“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.”

Acting for the defence, barrister Neil Moore said that his client had admitted that his actions had been a “gross breach of trust” and had made a “full and frank admission”, with all of the stolen goods being recovered from Woodhouse’s house or car and not having been sold.

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Mr Moore also said that Woodhouse, who admitted to stealing the packages in his first interview, had “brought great shame upon his own family’ as he admitted that his actions had crossed the custody threshold.

At a previous hearing, Mr Moore had told the court that Woodhouse was now working in another job, but that a conviction could put that job at risk.

Woodhouse was released on bail pending appeal.