Published: 19:00, 03 September 2014
A thieving postie took cash from birthday cards... because he was desperate to see his estranged children.
Darren Tredget, 32, claimed his ex-partner was putting pressure on him to stump up money – or he wouldn’t be able to visit the youngsters.
Now the former postman – who had worked at the Folkestone sorting office – has escaped an immediate jail sentence after admitting the thefts.
His lawyer Phillip Rowley had told Canterbury Crown Court how the mother of the children had left "hard-working postman".
He then moved from Ashford to Folkestone and was living “socially isolated and alone” in a flat – where he received “repeated requests for money.”
Mr Rowley said: “His ex partner made more and more demands for more money and made it clear that seeing his children was dependent on him satisfying these demands.”
Tredget, of Anglers Drive, Sholden, Deal, admitted stealing £650 and an unknown number of gift vouchers as well as 237 postal packets and delaying the delivery of 654 and 3,305 door-to-door items of mainly junk mail between January 2013 and February this year.
Natalie McNamee, prosecuting, said during routine checks in January it was noticed that at Tredget's station some greetings cards had not been dealt with properly and some were opened.
She added Royal Mail then placed him under surveillance and Tredget was seen to put items into his jacket and walk to the gentlemen's toilets on several occasions.
Ms McNamee added test packets had been included and during one check only "two of four packets had been dealt with properly".
After he was first quizzed by post office investigators, when he admitted his thieving, another bag of mail was handed in containing another 232 Royal Mail packets of which 126 had been unopened by Tredget.
Mr Rowley said: “The question is why would a man of 32 who had never been in trouble before engage in what can only be described as reckless?
“His behaviour arose from the deterioration of his long-term relationship after the lady in questioned formed a relationship with another individual and as a consequence the defendant was no longer living with his children.”
He said Tredget’s life then became chaotic as he provided money for the upkeep of the young children.
“These thefts were never going to go undetected and indeed he admitted that there was a sense of relief when he was detected,” he added.
“His ex partner made more and more demands for more money and made it clear that seeing his children was dependent on him satisfying these demands" - Phillip Rowley
The judge, Recorder John Freeman told Tredget, who now works as a kitchen porter at a golf club: “In 2013 you broke up with the mother of your children and moved to Folkestone where you were living alone and under serious financial pressure from your previous partner.
“But not only the Royal Mail but also the public expect the safe delivery of the mail and any theft by a postman is inevitably serious and must carry a prison sentence.”
The judge then suspended the eight month prison term for two years and ordered him to do 150 hours of unpaid work for the community and pay £1,360 in costs.
Tredget had admitted three theft charges and a fourth of illegally delaying the mail.
The judge added: “In this case you made no real attempt to conceal what you did and you were clearly going to be discovered.”
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