A postman who took credit cards from the mail and stole thousands, had £89,000 cash in his bedroom, a court heard on Monday.

But Harpal Singh Phull, 35, of Kings Avenue, Greenford, only admitted half the charges totalling just over £31,000. He claimed the rest of the money was his father's.

However, prosecutor Stephen John, said the Crown did not accept this adding the money was 'recovered from the bedroom the defendant shares with his wife'.

Phull worked for the post office for eight years in the Southall sorting office, responsible for sorting and delivering a round of mail.

'Significant losses of bank cards, followed by the rapid withdrawal of very substantial sums from Abbey National and Halifax Building Society accounts were noted and resulted in a post office investigation,' said Mr John.

Dummy packets were placed on Phull's round and he was seen putting them aside.

'He was then observed doing what he had been doing on a very regular basis,' said counsel. 'Going to the Abbey National in Southall Broadway and making a balance inquiry.'

Phull admitted 21 charges of theft and one of wilfully delaying the mail between October 1997 and his arrest in August last year.

Sentencing Phull for 21 months for the £31,000, Judge John Crocker told him 'People working for the post office are in a particular situation because they have access to items that people send through the post of high value.'