Jail for man who embezzled £160k from Post Office

A 29-year-old man who embezzled £160,000 from a Lerwick post office to fund his gambling addiction has been jailed.

Jack Simpson, from North Road, Lerwick, had previously admitted stealing the sum while working at Conochies between 4th January and 2nd August 2021.

Simpson stole large amounts of money by logging them to be delivered to the main Post Office, before moving the sums into his former partner’s and his own accounts.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard Simpson made around 70 such deposits during this time – with a “six-figure sum” moved on one occasion.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie – reading out a lengthy narration cataloguing the scale of the embezzlement – said Simpson had stolen the money because he was “gambling on a significant level”.

Simpson lost around £271,000 across 25 separate betting accounts, including with Betfred, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes.

The fiscal said Simpson had started working at Conochies as a post office clerk in February 2020, with “significant quantities of cash” passing through the premises.

The court heard that the deception revolved around the bags in which cash is stored before being moved to the mainland.

Suspicions were aroused on 21st July 2021 when a witness became concerned there were only nine bags of cash picked up.

“There should have been 27 bags collected,” Mr MacKenzie said.

A full investigation was launched by the Post Office in August, and Conochies closed, after they found no cash waiting to be collected.

Simpson meanwhile went south on a “shopping spending spree”.

After the investigation the Post Office found Simpson had logged 17 bags into the system which never existed, totalling a cash shortfall of £160,000.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Simpson accepted responsibility for the embezzlement and admitted he had a gambling addiction.

He said it had been difficult for him to avoid gambling because it was “everywhere”.

“It’s on football shirts, it’s on advertisements, it’s on TV,” he said.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said this had been a “relatively elaborate deception” on Simpson’s part, and called it a “mind-numbing breach of trust”.

The sheriff said in the circumstances there was no alternative to a custodial sentence, and jailed him for 28 months.

  • Anyone suffering from similar issues can phone the national gambling helpline on 0808 802 0133.


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