Post office thief stole thousands

Post office thief Rosie Houghton
Post office thief Rosie Houghton

A post office worker who helped herself to thousands of pounds of cash used it to help meet her bills including her cat’s insurance.

Rosie Houghton stole a total of £3,047 from the sub post-office in Main Street, Billinge, over a two-month period before a £770 discrepancy was noticed.

The owner’s son, Ashley Williams, who also worked in the premises, viewed the shop’s CCTV and it showed Houghton taking £500 from the safe and putting it in her handbag and then taking a further £270 from the till and placing that in her handbag as well.

When earlier CCTV was viewed she was seen behaving in a similar fashion on five earlier Saturdays, said David Evans, prosecuting.

She was suspended from her job, which she had had for 10 months, and when quizzed by police 21-year-old Houghton admitted the thefts and said she had used it to buy food and other items.

Houghton pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court to six theft offences which occurred between April 29 and June 24 this year.

A probation officer, who had interviewed Houghton, told the court that her grandfather, who passed away last week, had been seriously ill at the time of the offences and “she wasn’t thinking straight.”

“She comes across as very remorseful but has not real reason why she committed these offences.”

Chris Bivon, defending, said that Houghton has learning difficulties and is partly deaf and will have trouble getting another job.

She now lives with her partner but lived alone at the time and after her monthly outgoings were met, including cat insurance, she only had £150 to survive on.

Imposing an 18-week prison sentence suspended for a year the chairman of the bench said that she had worked in a small office and there was a risk of other members of staff falling under suspicion.

“I do not accept your personal circumstances justify this offending, particularly in breach of trust,” she said.

Houghton, of Canal Street, St Helens, was also ordered to pay back £3,047 compensation at £5 a week, carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work and 20 days rehabilitation activity.