Barnsley man jailed over theft of stamps worth £90k

Court of Appeal
Court of Appeal

A man who stole £90,000 worth of stamps from a Co-op store in Barnsley to fund foreign holidays, gamble and buy electrical goods has been jailed for 20 months.

Andrew Swales, aged 39, of Woodland View, Holmfirth, stole books of first and second class postage stamps from the Co-operative convenience store in Snape Hill Road, Darfield, where he worked.

The thief stole the stamps over a three year period and sold them on to fund a ‘lifestyle beyond his means’, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Swales, who pleaded guilty to theft at an earlier hearing, was caught when a police probe was launched following an internal investigation by the Co-op revealed that large, high-value orders of postage stamps to the store were unaccounted for.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that Swales was the manager of the Co-op store when he stole the stamps between 2009 and 2012.

The police investigation was launched in July 2013 and Swales appeared in court for the offence last month.

Police officers carried out a search of Swales’ home and a quantity of first and second-class stamps were recovered from the property.

It emerged that Swales had sold the stamps to fund his lifestyle and pay for his gambling.

Detective Constable Graeme Badcock, the investigating officer, said: “Swales stole postage stamps that he had ordered to the store, before selling them on and using the money to buy electrical goods, fund foreign holidays and gamble, all at the expense of his employer.”

“This was a lifestyle beyond his means.

“His sentencing today is the result of a lengthy and complex investigation and I would like to thank everyone who has assisted in bringing Swales to justice, including staff at the Co-operative group.

“Thefts from businesses are not victimless crimes.”