A courier who stole parcels and sold them on eBay has walked free from court with a suspended sentence.

Richard Vernon’s thefts came to light when staff at Hospice Isle of Man emptied a donations bin and found a large number of goods that should have been delivered to customers in the island.

The 57-year-old, of The Dhoor, Ramsey, admitted theft and possession of criminal property.

Sentencing him to a six month jail term suspended for 12 months, Deemster Graeme Cook told him: ‘I accept this was completely out of character and you did it while under emotional pressure.’

The Court of General Gaol Delivery heard that Vernon was working as a delivery driver for Evri, formerly known as Hermes, when he helped himself to clothing, homeware and toys which had been ordered by residents in the island.

He sold the goods for a total of £702 on eBay.

Prosecutor Barry Swain told the court crimes initially came to the police’s attention in March 2022 when staff at Hospice Isle of Man emptied one of the charity’s donations bins then located in the car park at Rushen Abbey, Ballasalla.

Inside they found bags containing a total of 156 items including clothes, toys, ornaments and healthcare products. None of the packages had any forwarding address or identifying paperwork.

They were taken to the Hospice shop at Spring Valley and police were called.

All the items were traced back to Evri and Vernon identified as the delivery driver.

On March 23, Vernon was arrested at his home on suspicion of theft.

Further investigations found an eBay account which showed sales totalling £702.13.

These sales consisted of items which had been due to be delivered to Isle of Man residents while Vernon was working as a courier driver.

CCTV footage at the Post Office sorting office showed Vernon posting a large number of packages over a number of days.

A media release issued by police for the public to come forward who had ordered items that had not been delivered prompted a large response from residents in the south of the island. A number of the items they had ordered had been found in the Hospice bin.

In a basis of plea, Vernon said there had been a large backlog of parcels in the Evri warehouse at Balthane that didn’t have addresses on. He accepted that he had taken them and put them in the Hospice bin but had not deliberately removed the labels.

The court heard that all the missing items had been replaced or customers had received a refund.

Defence advocate Stephen Wood said his client admitted his actions had caused considerable inconvenience to a great many people.

The court heard the defendant had put the items in the Hospice bin when he was under pressure following redundancy.

Deemster Cook said his sentencing powers were limited as the case had been referred to him by the summary court.

In addition to the suspended sentence with no supervision order, he ordered Vernon to pay costs of £500.