A POSTMAN earning pounds 160-a-week who paid pounds 180,000 cash for a Cornish farmhouse after a string of mail thefts was jailed for five years yesterday.
Christopher Pickering, 37, admitted conspiracy to steal registered mail from the Post Office's mail rail - a private line running 24 hours a day under the streets of London.
Stephen John, for the prosecution, told the Old Bailey the total value of the stolen packages was more than pounds 607,000.
Judge Angus Stroyan told Pickering: 'This was a cynical and calculated breach of trust.'
The court was told that between August and November 1991, 12 mail sacks containing high-value registered parcels, mainly foreign currency being transferred between banks, disappeared from the mail rail.
Records showed that on most occasions Pickering, of Dagenham, east London, was on duty but it was clear other postal workers were involved. Despite investigations they have not been caught.