A POSTMAN stole more than 4,500 letters and parcels worth more than £10,000.

Mark Groom stole packets contained money, computer games, DVDs, mobile phones, gift cards and vouchers, totalling a value of £10,063.

The 44-year-old admitted to two counts of theft of a postal packet during his time working for Royal Mail between December 1, 2017 and September 27 last year as well as laundering £4,654.35 of profit made from the thefts.

Before he was charged, Groom worked as a postman for Royal Mail for more than 18 years.

He appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced for his crimes, which he had already admitted at a previous hearing.

The court heard that Royal Mail had been alerted to Groom’s crimes after having an “unusually high” number of reports of parcels going missing from customers.

Groom admitted the charges after he was arrested, and the court was told he had reached an agreement with Royal Mail to have compensation paid to them straight from his pension.

Andrew Blake, mitigating, told the court that Groom is the dad of a three-year-old girl for whom he is the main carer, and that if he were to go to jail, he would risk losing his family home, and his wife would risk losing her job.

He said: “Before these charges Mr Groom had an unblemished record with the company, and had worked in his role for 18 years.

“He has acted completely against everyone’s perception of who he is and what he is capable of.”

Judge Samantha Leigh chose to defer Groom’s sentencing for six months to allow time for counselling and to get his affairs in order.

She said: “I make it clear to you that in these sorts of cases that because of the interfering with the postal system, it would have been an immediate custodial sentence.

“At the moment, bearing in mind that you’re so early on in your counselling, in my judgement is better for me to wait and get an update with all that information on how you’re doing.

“If I come back in six months and the reports are good, then I might be able to make a different decision.

“But this is entirely in your hands. I make no promises.”

Groom, of Mary Rose Close, Chafford Hundred, will be sentenced on March 2 2020.