A postman of 19 years service has said he feels harshly treated after being sacked following the theft of his post van.
Mr Alan Clarkson (55) has now had to declare himself bankrupt following his dismissal on December 15th last year.
The father-of-one, whose wife was also made redundant around the same time, admitted that he had left the keys in the ignition of the van, which was stolen while he was delivering parcels in Carter Street, in the Gannow area of Burnley on November 19th.
Despite appealing against his sacking, Royal Mail recently upheld its decision to dismiss him.
Mr Clarkson said: “I feel very harshly treated. I accept that I made a mistake in leaving the keys in the ignition, but I think a suspension or a warning would have been a fairer punishment. I was the victim of a crime at the end of the day.”
Mr Clarkson said he had been under a great deal of stress in his private life at the time of the theft and “had not been thinking straight”.
The van was later recovered by police but the packages inside had been interfered with.
“I have worked for Royal Mail for 19 years and never had a complaint. I normally covered Nelson and Brierfield and was helping out in Burnley when the theft took place,” he added.
“A lot of residents contacted me to say they are shocked that I had been sacked.”
Mr Clarkson has now taken a job at Crow Wood Leisure Centre, but his wife Janet is still out of work.
Burnley Coun. Andy Tatchell, who is the assistant secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union for North Lancashire and Cumbria, said: “Unfortunately, in this sort of world, employers do not look at mitigating factors.
“The Royal Mail code of conduct procedure is supposed to be corrective, not punitive. I think in this instance a penalty short of dismissal would have been the most appropriate course of action.”
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We can confirm that a postman from the Burnley area has been dismissed following a recent appeal. The safety and security of mail is of the utmost importance to this business.”