“Stressed” postman hoarded 1,600 letters

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By Michael MacLeod

A POSTMAN stashed over 1,500 letters and parcels in his house and car because he was “stressed” and “mentally exhausted” by his workload.

Ross Henderson blamed Royal Mail bosses for changing his delivery routes on a daily basis.

But the spotlight landed on the 23 year-old when post went missing and customers complained they hadn’t received items they expected.

The Edinburgh man said he always intended to deliver the packages, but his backlog “spiralled out of control”.

Today (Friday) he admitted intentionally delaying 1,628 items of mail between 12 June and 23 July 2009 at the city’s Sheriff Court.

Two charges of theft were dropped after police fully recovered the post from his house and car in Carrick Knowe Terrace.

Royal Mail forwarded every item on to the intended recipients with apology letters.

Deferring sentence for reports, Sheriff Kathrine Mackie said Henderson, who has since resigned from his job, would learn “an expensive” lesson.

Fiscal depute Aidan Higgins said Henderson, who had no previous convictions, complained to his line manager at Royal Mail about his workload but to no avail.

He said: “The accused began work as a postman in August 2008.

“The postal packets were delayed as a result of his conduct.

“They were items he should have delivered as his duty, but rather he left them in various locations, namely his own house and car.

“The fact they had been delayed came to light on 23 July last year.”

The now jobless Henderson, who lives with his mother, fully admitted he had kept hold of the post when police interviewed him.

Mr Higgins added: “He said he hoped to try and reintroduce the items of mail back into the system, but it appears that simply he was under great strain at the time and great mental exhaustion and felt unable to manage his workload.

“He said he had spoken with his employers and line manager and communicated his difficulties and that things had got on top of him.

“All the recovered postal packets were forwarded along with a letter of apology from the Royal Mail.

“This matter having come to light, the accused resigned from his post.”

Henderson’s defence agent Leanne McQuillan insisted he was “well aware” of the hassle he had caused.

She said: “What is simply an envelope to him could have been something very precious to somebody else.

“It could have caused members of the public and businesses significant problems and he is well aware that courts view these matters very seriously.

“For the first six months he worked for Royal Mail everything was fine.

“But there were then changes in the way things operated and he was given different routes on a daily basis.

“He was struggling for a number of months to complete them in the times allotted but nothing was done to change this.

“His main intention was he would catch up somehow but it spiralled out of control.

“He can’t explain it other than he was under pressure by working longer hours.

“He has certainly learned his lesson.”

Sheriff Mackie called on background reports and said: “Well it is going to be an expensive one and will have no doubt affected the attitude of any future employer.”

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Royal Mail has extremely robust procedures for supporting our people and for assisting them where necessary if they are struggling with their work.

“It is a criminal offence to tamper with or delay the delivery of mail and anyone caught doing so will face serious disciplinary measures and prosecution.

“The safety and security of mail is crucial to Royal Mail and we will not allow the actions of an individual damage the good reputation of our thousands of hard-working postmen and women.”

Henderson must return to court next month.

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