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Thief steals trolley-load of parcels from Royal Mail depot

PUBLISHED: 16:25 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 11:09 11 August 2010

A BURGLAR repeatedly targeted a Royal Mail depot, stealing parcels worth more than £11,000. Maurice Gallagher, 22, made off with trolleys and mail sacks during three break-ins he carried out at the sorting office in Movers Lane, Barking. Snaresbrook Cro

A BURGLAR repeatedly targeted a Royal Mail depot, stealing parcels worth more than £11,000.

Maurice Gallagher, 22, made off with trolleys and mail sacks during three break-ins he carried out at the sorting office in Movers Lane, Barking.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that the father-of-one gained access to a special delivery room, where mail insured for up to £2,500, was stored.

Prosecutor, Kenneth Dow said that Gallagher, of St Anns, Gascoigne Estate, Barking, first targeted the depot at around 3.30am on December 8 last year, when he brazenly walked out pushing a trolley-load of post.

"He can be seen on CCTV pushing the trolley through the front gate of the premises and out into the street. He stole about 70 parcels to the value of £3,500."

Counsel said that he returned to the sorting office with a number of unidentified men, two weeks later.

"Several men were seen to enter the depot through the front gates at about 7.30 in the evening, by cutting the chain and padlock with a pair of boltcutters" said Mr Dow.

The burglars took mail valued at £7,500, along with the TV from the staff canteen.

Then on January 7 this year Gallagher went back to the sorting office alone, and stole goods worth £500. But he was spotted by a postal worker who followed him and then called the police.

"He continued to watch him opening numerous letters and parcels until the police arrived and arrested him."

The court heard how Hackney-born Gallagher had previous convictions for drink-driving, assault on a police officer, and shoplifting.

Gallagher pleaded guilty to burglary, and asked for two other burglaries to be taken into account.

Sentencing him to 15 months in prison, Judge John Lafferty said: "You used the proceeds of these burglaries to get money to pay for drink.

"I accept that the first matter you asked to be taken into account may have been an opportunist burglary, but the second one was clearly planned.

"I am equally prepared to accept that the last one was opportunist as well, but it seems quite clear that you had developed a habit of targeting this sorting office as and when you needed money."

Gallagher tried to return to the cells before Judge Lafferty had passed sentence, and was blocked by dock officers.

He made a hand gesture mimicking the firing of a gun as he finally returned to the cells.

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