Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 17:53 UK

Post office woman stole 70,000

A former postmistress could be sent to prison after being found guilty of stealing about 70,000 from the Devon post office where she once worked.

Janine Powell, 37, had denied charges of theft from Cowleymoor Post Office in Tiverton between March 2006 and February 2007.

Prosecutor Andrew Oldland said Powell had "literally put her hand into the till" and then covered the thefts up.

She was released on bail until sentencing on 24 October.

After the jury at Exeter Crown Court found her guilty, Judge Christopher Elwen said: "A breach of trust generally results in a defendant found guilty spending some time in prison."

The jury was told at the time of the offence Powell was living above the post office.

Mr Oldland said she pretended the amount of money in the post office was higher than it actually was, by shifting the figures around electronically.

This enabled her to hide what she was doing from her colleagues, while the money disappeared.

But an auditing team discovered a shortfall of at least 70,000.

Powell, now living at New Barn Park Road, Taunton, Somerset, did not give evidence.

Defence counsel Patrick Morgan said there was a complicated accounting system at the post office, and the evidence was circumstantial.

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