A POSTMAN from Colne has been given a suspended prison sentence after stealing £700 worth of parcels from the general public.

Stephen Tempest was jailed for four months, suspended for 12 months, after admitting to the theft of 21 postal packages, belonging to the Royal Mail, and for theft of a pair of jogging bottoms, worth £40.

He was also given a two-month curfew, ordered to pay £1,000 to the Royal Mail and carry out 150 hours community service.

Royal Mail confirmed he has been dismissed.

The 30-year-old’s haul of stolen goods included 22 items of clothing, inclu-ding a light blue jacket worth more than £160, and two PlayStation computer games.

Tempest ripped open packages while working at Skipton Delivery Office, searching for items of clothing in his size, Bradford Crown Court was told.

His stealing spree was stopped when he tried to exchange a pair of jogging bottoms at Just Jeans in Skipton. But the shop owner recognised the trousers as being ones the shop had sold online and alerted the Royal Mail.

Tempest, of Cleveland Street, who had no previous convictions, worked as a postman for 11-and-a-half years, the court heard. He told a previous hearing at Skipton Magistrates’ Court that he could not explain why he stole.

Passing sentence, Judge John Potter told Tempest: “You have come close to going into custody immediately. Your offences cause the loss of confidence in the postal service by the public.”