A POSTAL worker could face jail for stealing while working at a sorting office.

Joyce Lynette Parry, of Overton Road, Eyton, opened up dozens of undeliverable postal packets that she was supposed to send on to the Chester Mail Centre, Wrexham magistrates heard.

Andrea Fitzgerald, prosecuting for the Royal Mail, said Parry, 58, blamed the stress of her job for opening postal packets between May 2008 and December 2009.

The Royal Mail became suspicious when a worker at the Chester centre noticed a number of mistreated and opened undeliverable items being sent from the Wrexham Sorting Office.

In December 2009 a covert camera was installed at the sorting office which showed Parry opening three packets between 2.14am and 2.18am and a greetings card at 7.35am, said Miss Fitzgerald.

On December 23 Parry was approached by staff, cautioned and later interviewed.
Miss Fitzgerald said: “During the first interview Parry said she had not opened any postal packets but would look inside to see if an address was in it.

Parry’s home was searched and among items found were five gift cards, including a £10 Next gift card, a £20 WH Smith gift card, two £15 Argos gift cards and a £22 Boots gift card.

Five Franklin Mint coins were also discovered as well as a small cuddly tiger from the WWF charity.

Other items stolen were a £10 note, jewellery and plants.

Miss Fitzgerald said: “She did not know why she had taken the jewellery home as she did not like jewellery and never wore it. She admitted taking two Argos gift cards. She indicated she had not needed them and did not like shopping.

“The defendant was asked why she had been doing it and replied: ‘I was under a lot of stress’.”

Mark Davies, defending said Parry used to work outside as a postwoman but then had a fall and broke her ankle 18 months ago. It meant she had to work indoors in the sorting office.

Royal Mail suspended Parry from her position in December but Parry later resigned.

Mr Davies said she had an “unblemished character” and no previous convictions.

“It’s a very sad and unfortunate set of circumstances and she sends her full and unequivocal apologies for what she’s done.”

Parry admitted stealing items from the Royal Mail and breaching her duty as a postal operator by intentionally opening a postal packet.

Magistrates’ chairman Shirley Davies adjourned the case until May 21 for a report to be prepared by the probation service. She said she could not rule out a custodial sentence.