A Royal Mail worker who stole mobile phones from the company’s central parcel depot in Leeds has been jailed.
Gavin Houldsworth was placed under investigation in February 2014 after Royal Mail received a high number of reports of items going missing.
A total of 49 reports of items going missing were recorded between 2014 and 2015.
Leeds Crown Court heard Houldsworth - a former Royal Marine - was identified as a “common factor” in incidents of parcels going missing.
A was placed under observation for several months until it was discovered that an iPhone 6 which was reported missing was later registered in his name.
Another missing phone was found to have been sold using his wife’s Facebook page.
Further phones were sold on eBay and to high street store Game.
It was later discovered that Houldsworth had sent the phone he had advertised on eBay to a buyer in Bristol by post.
Houldsworth, of Broom Terrace, Keighley, was interviewed by Royal Mail investigators in January this year and admitted stealing items from the depot. He was in possession of one of the stolen phones and had the receipt for the phone he sold to Game in his pocket.
The court heard the total value of Houldsworth’s offending was £2,838.
He pleaded guilty to four offences of theft and one of money laundering.
Robin Freize, mitigating, said Houldsworth had no previous convictions and had previously served his country in the Royal Marines.
He said Houldsworth committed the offence after his “thinking became chaotic” when he got into heavy debt.
Mr Freize said his client was ashamed and sorry for what he had done.
Houldsworth was jailed for six months.
Judge Guy Kearl, QC, said: “I cannot escape an immediate custodial sentence.
“This is an offence against the Royal Mail and it affects all in society.
“You must understand that if you steal from the Royal Mail then a custodial sentence will follow.”