A 21-YEAR-OLD Kingswinford postman who pocketed letters addressed to children because he thought they might contain cash to help him clear debts he built up after starting to smoke cannabis has been jailed for six months.

Arron Williams started buying the controlled drug to help ease the pain he felt following the death of his pet dog, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

He took just 13 letters while working on his round but Judge John Warner ruled it was serious offending because the public relied on the integrity of the postal service and they had to trust their postmen.

The Judge told Williams, a man of previous good character, it was "particularly mean" offending because he had clearly targeted mail sent to youngsters.

He added: "It is not the actual value of the items involved but the impact of offending of this kind on the community."

Williams, of Brook Crescent, Wall Heath, who admitted stealing 13 postal packets, was rumbled after investigators placed two test packets inside his bag.

John Dove, prosecuting, said one item was delivered but the second, which contained a rosette and £25 voucher to spend at a sports shop, were kept by Williams.

He was then followed to his home because the packet contained a tracking device and when the property was searched a number of greetings cards and cheques were recovered together with other card debris.

Mr Dove said one of the cards had contained 25 Euros - money that had been sent by a relative to mark a birthday.

When questioned Williams admitted he had been "soft and stupid" and he maintained he had been extremely upset after his dog's death.

He told investigators he had been buying cannabis, he owed money and he took the cards to try and ease his debts. He said he targeted cards addressed to "Master" because he they were for children and might contain gifts.

Ian Gold, defending, said Williams had been under surveillance because he had fallen behind with his work and it was afterwards the test packets were placed in his bag.

He then suffered the loss of his pet and took solace in smoking cannabis. He felt it would assist his problems but he was then buying more cannabis than he could afford.