The Military Army Blog

Bored Bilston postie stole parcels for ‘adrenaline rush’ having served in Afghanistan

A thieving postman said he stole undelivered envelopes and packages to get an adrenalin rush having previously served in Afghanistan with the Territorial Army.

Gavin Ponter had been employed by Royal Mail since 2000, working at its depot in Bilston without a blemish on his record. But in November last year he began stealing items of post containing everything from gift vouchers to computer games. He even tried to erase evidence of his crimes by burning envelopes and some of their contents which he thought could be traced.

Ponter who served in Afghanistan as part of team running postal services in Kabul, Kandahar and other locations was caught following an investigation which tracked the location of parcels. Appearing before city magistrates on Tuesday, he told a probation officer he acted out of boredom and got an adrenalin rush when stealing the mail. Chief magistrate, Mrs Janet Bird, said: We need to give a message to the public that when they post a parcel it will get to where they expect it to arrive.

Your thefts were over a period of time. They were not a spur of the moment thing. You also attempted to destroy the evidence by burning items.

We heard the reason for you stealing was to relieve boredom.

Ponter, aged 36, of Coalway Road, Bloxwich, Walsall, was given a 20-week suspended sentence having admitted five counts of theft and one of arson. He will have to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay a total of 711 in compensation and costs. In 2007 Ponter was one of eight Royal Mail staff sent to war-torn Afghanistan to keep British forces in touch with their families back home. He previously went over to Bosnia in 2003.

The court heard the thefts were carried out between November last year and June. Thomas Bramall, prosecuting for Royal Mail, said contents of the stolen mail had included Love2shop vouchers, a Little Mermaid DVD and an Xbox game. In all they totalled around 500. In February he was seen acting suspiciously around parcels which led to several being tracked which ultimately led back to his car. He was arrested and confessed all to the police.

Defending, Mr Patrick Curry, said: My client is not the sort of person who would normally go around committing these sort of offences.

“He has done a number of tours of duty in the military. He has held positions of responsibility in the military.

He never committed any offences while there and left with an unblemished record. The court heard Ponter, who has two children, lost his job with Royal Mail and is now working as a trainee butcher. A Royal Mail spokesperson, said: Royal Mail has a zero tolerance approach to any dishonesty and the safety and security of mail is of the utmost importance to this business.

It is a criminal offence to tamper with or delay the delivery of mail and anyone caught doing so will face serious disciplinary measures.

“Royal Mail will always seek to prosecute the tiny minority of people who abuse their position of trust.

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