Published: July 14, 2011
Former Burnham-On-Sea Royal Mail delivery officer manager jailed

A former Burnham-On-Sea Royal Mail delivery office manager who stole foreign currency going through the postal system has been jailed after admitting theft and money laundering.

Jayne Hopkins, 43, stole more than £14,000 while overseeing staff at Burnham and Bridgwater, Taunton Crown Court heard this week.

She and her husband David Hopkins, 60, a postman, paid money into various bank accounts and the scam was revealed when a special delivery package sent by investigators was found in her handbag.

The couple, now from Ilchester, were said to have been living beyond their means with debts of £30,000. She was jailed for 14 months and her husband was given three months suspended for two years with 150 hours unpaid work.

Anthony Vines, prosecuting, said Hopkins was manager at Burnham-On-Sea from November 2008 to April 2009, having previously been manager at Somerton and Langport, followed by Bridgwater. Her husband was employed at Bridgwater.

He was charged with converting criminal property amounting to £3,200 and the foreign currency involved included South African rands, Australian dollars, Cypriot pounds and Turkish lira.

In May 2009, a special delivery package of 2,500 US dollars went through the system and was paid into their bank accounts, said Mr Vines.

A surveillance operation was mounted involving £3,500 worth of New Zealand and Hong Kong dollars.

Mrs Hopkins denied taking it but her handbag was opened and the package found inside. When shown the surveillance film she said it was the first time she had stolen anything.

Patrick Mason, defending Mrs Hopkins, said the couple were now leading law-abiding lives.

Judge Graham Hume Jones said they were both 'in this together', adding that she was in a high degree of trust and he must have known what was going on. "The word has to go out to other Post Office employees that those who steal from the mail go to prison," said the judge.


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