Jail for Northumberland postman who stashed mail
A postman who stashed so much mail in his flat that he had to move out has been jailed for 14 months.
Paul Noga, 38, of Broomlee, Ashington, Northumberland, had admitted interfering with mail, criminal damage, theft and arson.
He decided to move in with his mother after cramming his own home with 50,000 items of post over two years.
Judge Michael Cartlidge, at Newcastle Crown Court, said Noga was troubled by debt.
Noga, who became a postman in 2004, took mail from other employees' compartments.
Among the items were sympathy cards to a widower who had just lost his wife.
He admitted spending retail vouchers worth £150 and about £1,000 in cash taken from the post.
'Lack of sophistication'
The judge said: "A trusted employee of the postal service over a period of two years has mistreated postal packages in vast numbers causing, no doubt, extreme distress of folk."
The judge said Noga was troubled by rising debts and his mother becoming ill.
Noga has lost his Royal Mail pension, which has been spent on redelivering mail.
Shaun Routledge, defending, said: "The overriding feature of this offending is its lack of sophistication."
Credit cards in the mail were not used and there was no attempt to alter cheques he found.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: "Royal Mail has a zero tolerance approach to any dishonesty and that stance is shared by the overwhelming majority of postmen and women, who are honest and hardworking and who do all they can to protect the mail and deliver it safely.
"We will always seek to prosecute the tiny minority of people who abuse their position of trust."