A postman stashed so much stolen mail in his flat he was forced to move in with his mother because there was no room to live.
Paul Noga, 38, failed to deliver thousands of birthday presents, Christmas cards, bank statements, personal letters and gift packages to residents on his Northumberland route over a two year period.
But when his flat became swamped with the 76,000 items of post, Noga simply abandoned his home.
By the time police searched the flat virtually every surface was covered.
Noga today pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to stealing or delaying a total of 76,036 items of mail. He also pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal damage and one charge of arson.
The hearing was told that 68,271 postal packets were delayed or opened between September 2007 and September 2009, and a further 7,765 postal packets were stolen between July 2008 and September 2009.
Up to 1,000 of the stolen packages were burned and Noga damaged hundreds more.
Dressed in a crumpled sports top, the defendant spoke only to confirm his name and enter his pleas
Noga’s lawyer Shaun Routledge said his client was of previous good character but had breached the trust placed in him by Royal Mail and their customers.
‘The mail was just lying around in the flat,’ he said. ‘It got to such an extent he had to move to his mother’s flat, where he now lives.
‘He has been living without income for six months since he was suspended from his job.
‘He is of previous good character, but there is a breach of trust.’