A postman who admitted opening greeting cards to steal cash to feed his cocaine habit has been jailed.
Michael Easton was convicted of three counts of theft after stealing letters containing cash as well as a woman's cancer results and a condolence card.
The 48-year-old admitted deliberately destroying a large quantity of undelivered mail and storing more letters and parcels in his bath.
Easton, of Wirral, was jailed for 10 months at Liverpool Crown Court.
The court heard how Easton, of New Ferry Road, was caught after Royal Mail investigators became suspicious about the number of cards that were found damaged at the Chester Mail Centre between July and September.
The evidence pointed to Easton, who had been employed as a postman for 12 years at New Ferry, so six test items were placed into post boxes on his round.
All six items subsequently went missing.
His van was searched on 20 September and 65 undelivered items were discovered from that day.
At his home in Wirral, 2,572 mail items were found, 107 of which were greeting cards which had been opened.
When interviewed Easton, who had no previous convictions, admitted opening 300 to 400 greeting cards and stealing about £800.
Defence barrister Rebecca Smith said Easton had started using tramadol and cocaine after suffering knee injuries in a motorcycle accident.
This resulted in a low-level addiction and Easton, who was also convicted of criminal damage, began to take out loans to fund his habit.
Judge Rachel Smith accepted that Easton "was remorseful and utterly ashamed" of his actions.
But she added: "You were a recreational cocaine user who developed an addiction and your thoughts turned to criminality."