Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Post office worker jailed for embezzling £134,000 from Edinburgh shop

Daryl Louden Image copyright CIARAN DONNELLY
Image caption Daryl Louden pleaded guilty to embezzling £134,177 from the Post Office

A man who admitted embezzling more than £134,000 from an Edinburgh post office where he was the manager has been jailed for 16 months.

Daryl Louden, 26, from Edinburgh, had pleaded guilty previously to embezzling £134,177.46 from the branch in RS McColl's in Ferry Road between 1 January and 29 September 2016.

Louden had taken the money to feed his gambling habit.

Sentence had been deferred for background reports.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court, sheriff Frank Crowe told Louden his breach of trust had been enormous.

His actions, he said, had been devastating for those who worked with him and trusted in him.

Spot check

Sheriff Crowe had heard that Louden had been in line for promotion to area manager when he wrote to his superior officer, David Richardson, saying he no longer wanted promotion and wished to stay where he was.

Mr Richardson had been curious about this and carried out a spot check at the office.

It revealed about £135,000 was missing. When Mr Richardson confronted Louden, he admitted to having a gambling addiction, which he said had ruined his life.

Defence solicitor, Jennifer McEvinney, previously told Sheriff Crowe Louden had had on-line accounts with two or three betting companies and was gambling on football and horse racing.

He had taken out a loan and was trying to repay it by gambling. When he lost money, he began betting more and more to try and recoup his losses.

A letter from Mr Richardson was handed to Sheriff Crowe by Ms McEvinney, which, she said, made it clear that Louden's actions had been "extremely out of character" and Mr Richardson was concerned about Louden's mental health.

Her client, however, had "turned the corner". She suggested a sentence be imposed which would allow her client to make recompense for the offence, perhaps by performing unpaid work in the community.

Sheriff Crowe, however, stated Louden had to face up to what he had done.

It was public money and he had disappointed his area manager, colleagues and friends and wasted the money on gambling.

Only a prison sentence was appropriate.

He did, however, reduce a sentence of two years to 16 months and added: "I will take steps to ensure you get proper support and help in prison and hope this will help you get on with the useful side of your life."

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