A thieving postie who gambled away a £110,000 inheritance ended up stealing packets containing cash and credit cards.
Father-of-two Peter McAvoy, from Sittingbourne also blew the proceeds from the sale of his home after his gambling addiction wrecked his marriage, a judge heard.
But the disgraced postman has avoided a jail sentence after a judge heard how he is repaying the victims and the court cost out of his Post Office pension.
McAvoy, 48, of Hythe Road, pilfered packages for a year, targeting bank cards, which he then used to withdraw cash, totalling £700, and he also stole Euros.
Prosecutor Fiona Robertson said the value of the items stolen and defrauded was £1,628, including a watch which had been sent away for repair. The victim has since been compensated, the court heard.
When post office investigators searched his home they discovered a number of bank cards and greeting cards and £860 in cash.
McAvoy admitted seven charges of theft, fraud and money laundering after stealing €400 and converting it into pounds.
Judge Philip Statman told him: "Being a postman puts you in a position of trust.
"Members of the community rely on the postal service for delivery of sometimes very valuable items.
"You have now lost your your job, one which you enjoyed doing. I am satisfied - seeing the whites of your eyes across this courtroom - that your remorse is genuine.
"What has caused your downfall? Quite simply this - you resorted to gambling, which in your case is a pernicious addiction, fueled by the fact that people like you can go into betting shops and deliver up by slot machines considerable amounts of money.
"In this case you have blown an inheritance of £110,000 primarily through gambling.
"That shows the level of addiction you suffer from."
The judge told him that when he first read the court papers he was certain McAvoy would be going to prison immediately but he had been persuaded to suspend the sentence.
He added: "But if you decide that you are going to place a bet and you get yourself back in trouble before the law, as night follows day, you will be back in front of me and I will send you straight to Elmley Prison!
"You are in your last chance saloon. You get one chance today, please make good use of it."
McAvoy was also ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work for the community and 15 sessions to help him tackle his addiction.
He was given an eight-month jail sentence suspended for two years.
Jason Dunn-Shaw, defending, said: "From the very outset he co-operated with the Royal mail's investigation. He is a hard working man, working for the post office for 14 years.
"His gambling, which caused the break up of his marriage, began when his mother was admitted to hospital and he found gambling some kind of consolation.
"After the death of his mother he tried to sort himself out by attending Gamblers Anonymous but then his father died five years later and, after the split with his wife and their home was sold, he gambled away his half and then received £110,000.
"He went cold turkey to break his habit and has handed over £7,000 from his pension to pay costs and compensation."
For confidential support on gambling addiction visit the Gamblers Anonymous website, by clicking here.