A crippled South Yorkshire postman resorted to dumping thousands of letters because he could not cope with the strain of his workload, a court was told.
Many residents in Conisbrough, near Rotherham, failed to get their European election polling cards because Keith Hayes’s injured knee was not strong enough to complete his hilly round.
The 35-year-old, who has lost his job, is due to be sentenced today.
District Judge Jonathan Bennett warned Hayes that ‘all options’ were open, including the possibility of jail.
Hayes, of Trent Close, Edlington, Doncaster, pleaded guilty to offences of damaging more than 2,000 postal packets in April and May this year, and intentionally delaying the delivery of the packets.
Royal Mail began investigations on May 13 when council skips on Lidgett Lane, Dinnington, near Rotherham, were found to contain six bin liners containing 1,649 postal packets, some of which were election material.
Tim Williamson, prosecuting, said Hayes was seen on May 15 and was ‘quick to accept’ responsibility.
He told Royal Mail investigators the amount he had to deliver had built up over time.
Hayes said he had put the mail in his car before disposing of it in skips on Lidgett Lane and Crookhill, Conisbrough, which were later destroyed.
Mr Williamson said his employers accepted there had been no attempt to open any of the mail.
He added: “Regrettably some of the mail included European election polling cards which would have been denying them the right to vote.
“He said things had got too much for him and this was a simple way of getting rid of the work he had to do.”
Dale Harris, defending at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court, said Hayes was ‘put under enormous pressure’ by his employers when he was recovering from an injury to his knee.
“It was simply not possible for him to deliver the quantity of mail he was given to deliver.
“He suffered damage to his cruciate ligament and was signed off work for three months.
“But after three weeks he had daily phone calls from a manager saying they were short-staffed and he came back to work on crutches.
“After a brief period in the office he was expected to go out on his round with five bags of mail.”
Mr Harris said Hayes was a man ‘of few words’ and had not raised the issue at work and none of his colleagues would ‘put their heads above the parapet’ in support of him.
There was no suggestion by Royal Mail that he had been dishonest or sought to make financial gain by his actions, said Mr Harris.