Express milkman found guilty of dumping the mail

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A milkman with Express Dairies has been found guilty of mail-dumping in the first prosecution of its kind brought by the postal regulator, Postcomm.

A milkman with Express Dairies has been found guilty of mail-dumping in the first prosecution of its kind brought by the postal regulator, Postcomm.

Lee Carrington, a temporary employee with the dairy, now part of Arla Foods UK, was sentenced to 40 hours' community service and ordered to pay £1,000 towards costs by Nottingham magistrates' court this week.

The court heard how Carrington had dumped more than half of a consignment of magazines and catalogues that he had been supposed to deliver on the milk round.

Passing sentence, the District Judge stressed the serious nature of the offence and the importance of public confidence in licensed mail operators to actually deliver the mail. The judge decided not to impose a prison sentence although that was an option.

Express is one of a new breed of private postal operators licensed to deliver the post in competition with the Royal Mail, following the deregulation of the market. Express got its licence in 2003 and in the first full year of operations it delivered 5 million items.

Postcomm brought the prosecution under the Postal Services Act 2000 - the first time the legislation has been used in this way. Sarah Chambers, its chief executive, said: "The sentence and the judge's comments make clear the very serious nature of this type of crime - offenders face severe penalties, even the possibility of a prison sentence. We hope the outcome of this case will send a strong message - to customers and postal operatives alike - that mail-dumping will not be tolerated."

A spokeswoman for Express said: "We believe this was an unfortunate incident involving a temporary employee. We take these matters very seriously and we were totally supportive of Postcomm and this prosecution." Royal Mail has its own procedures for dealing with staff who dump mail. "We have a zero tolerance policy and instances of this nature are very rare," a spokeswoman said. "The vast majority of our staff are honest and hard-working."

However, more serious cases go to court. Nicholas Fryer, 31, a postman based in Kidsgrove, West Midlands, was jailed for two years last December for stealing 130,000 letters and parcels. Investigators found the undelivered mail stuffed into cupboards, the loft and a garden shed at his house.

Mail dumping by newly licensed operators is generally dealt with via Home Office cautions to the offending. But in the Express case, the incident was deemed sufficiently serious to warrant a prosecution.

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