Burnley postman stole mail to pay gambling debts
Published Date: 28 October 2009
A POSTMAN working in Burnley stole mail and withdrew almost £1,000 with bank cards after money troubles caused by gambling.
Naushad Panwaskar (44) targeted financial mail marrying up debit and credit cards with their Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) sent separately in a two-year run of dishonesty.
The defendant, said to have been depressed, also had plastic bin bags of undelivered mail stashed around his home, Burnley Crown Court heard.
Sentencing him to eight months in prison, Recorder Anthony Cross QC told him: "Financial institutions rely on the honesty of postmen not to do what you did. The offences strike at the core of the services provided by the Royal Mail. It is a very grave breach of trust and prison must follow."
Panwaskar of Preston New Road, Blackburn, had admitted five counts of theft between January 2007 and November 2008 and had been committed for sentence at Burnley Magistrates' Court.
Mr Karl Bates (prosecuting for the Royal Mail) said on November 19th last year it was discovered the defendant – a postman for three years – had been keeping and opening a large volume of mail.
Staff conducted "pouch" checks on postmen in the Burnley delivery office. Panwaskar showed two pouches but refused to let staff see a third weighty bag on his shoulder.
He said he had to go to his car and was seen to put the pouch in the boot. He was told if he refused to let staff see the contents investigators would be called in.
A staff member noticed what he thought was a large plastic bag containing undelivered mail in the boot.
Mr Bates said a short time later the defendant ran across the car park and drove away. When he returned 10 minutes later the plastic bag was no longer in the boot.
When he was asked to reveal the contents of the pouch or bag the defendant claimed they were "dirty mags for the lads" or private stuff.
Panwaskar was found to have £625 in cash on him and betting slips to the tune of £935.
His house and car were searched and 100 pieces of financial mail including PINs were recovered from both. Investigators also discovered 120 rental DVDs and bin bags containing mail around the house.
The hearing was told Panwaskar withdrew £901.99 using the bank cards.
He was arrested, questioned, and made various admissions but not the full extent of what had gone on.
Mr Michael Murray (defending) said Panwaskar, father of a 16-year-old child, was very fearful of jail.
When he was working as a postman he was in a stable relationship but it came to a sticky end, he plunged into depression and was on medication.
The barrister continued: "To try to extricate himself from an exceptionally low mood, he resorted to gambling in the hope of a quick fix and financial security. He got into financial difficulties."
Mr Murray added Panwaskar was remorseful and had another job and would lose his home if he were sent to jail.
He told the court: "He looks very bleakly towards his future if there is to be a custodial sentence."
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- Last Updated: 28 October 2009 11:42 AM
- Source: n/a
- Location: Burnley