A Banbury postman who stole cash from an account used by a blind man to pay for a support worker was jailed for ten months at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday.
Damon Alvey, 45, of Thame, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft of a mail bag and four counts of fraud.
Timothy Boswell, prosecuting, told the court Alvey, who worked for the Royal Mail in Oxford, moved to Banbury for a job at the sorting office in Merton Street in June 2013.
While there he “deliberately targeted” mail he thought contained bank cards and pin numbers. He stole these items of mail then used them to target the bank accounts of two victims to withdraw cash.
Mr Boswell described how Darren Blythe, who is registered blind, had £3,133 stolen from two accounts between August and October 2013, one of which was for personal banking and the other a council funded account used to pay for Mr Blythe’s support worker and recreational activities.
Alvey left the second account containing just £1.
Mr Boswell said: “I accept Mr Alvey wouldn’t have known that the victim was blind, but nevertheless he is someone who can be classed as a vulnerable victim and indeed Mr Blythe described his concern that this would impact on his life and his interests.”
A second victim was alerted to the fraud when she noticed a bank account she had recently opened, but not used, was near to its £1,000 overdraft limit after Mr Alvey had withdrawn £1,120 in five separate transactions.
The court heard when police raided Alvey’s house they found a “significant amount” of mail belonging to 15 victims as well as an amount of mail that had been shredded.
Timothy Greaves, defending, said: “The defendant is fully aware of how serious these offences are.
“It would be hard for me to argue that it’s not a breach of trust both to the employers and the customers.”
He said Alvey was a “hard working man” who had worked for the Royal Mail for three and a half years with no concerns over him being a trustworthy employee. But at the time of the offences was in a “bad place” and had fallen into debt and a drinking habit after the break up of a volatile relationship.
Sentencing Alvey, Judge Pringle said: “I give you the fullest credit for the fact that you placed a guilty plea at the first opportunity, but I would be utterly failing in my duty if I was not to pass an immediate prison sentence today.”
Following the sentencing Mr Blythe, 34, who lives with his mother Sue Blythe in Bretch Hill, Banbury, said: “When mum told me both bank accounts had been wiped out I couldn’t believe it.
“I wish he’d got a bigger sentence because of what he’s done to people who are all going through hard times financially. Everybody, not just him.”
Mr Blythe’s mother Sue added: “I’m pleased he got the sentence because the police seemed unsure he would be convicted. When is enough enough? He has gone to prison and it sends out the message that you can’t get away with this kind of thing.”
Both victims have been fully compensated by the banks concerned.