Penwortham post officer worker who stole cash jailed for four months

Robert Brewster
Robert Brewster
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A thieving post office worker stole £855 from his employers after developing a gambling addiction, a court has heard.

Disgraced Robert Brewster is starting a four month jail term after Preston Magistrates’ Court heard he betrayed the trust of staff at Penwortham Hill post office, one of whom had helped him to get the job in March 2015.

Brewster, of Walnut Close, Penwortham, Preston, admitted a charge of theft by an employee during a hearing before Preston Magistrates’ Court.

The 21-year-old is likely to be released half way through his sentence.

Prosecuting, Martine Connah said: “Andrew Gaunt is the director of the post office in Penwortham.

“It was brought to his attention by post office security that money had been taken. He also received a call from a customer in relation to £265 being withdrawn from his bank account.

“As a result of an audit carried out it highlighted the defendant’s user name, as well as times and dates.”

The investigation showed £590 in fake transactions, on top of the cash stolen from the customer’s account.

Miss Connah added: “Mr Gaunt did challenge the defendant and he admitted taking the money and offered to work for free to pay it back, but he felt he could not trust him any more.

“He did feel his trust had been betrayed. He describes how he went to extreme lengths to help the defendant get the job.”

The offences involved the reversal of bank account deposits and retail shop sales such as stamps and other goods.

In interview, Brewster told officers his friend had recently won a large amount of money which had triggered his gambling habit and addiction.

His family have paid the post office back and the court was told Brewster in turn paid them back.

His defence lawyer asked for him to be given credit for admitting the offences straight away, and suggested probation could work with him to address his gambling issue.

But the bench deemed immediate custody was necessary to reflect the seriousness of the offence.