The Queenstown postal worker who stole thousands of pieces of mail from Wakatipu residents has been jailed for 17 months.
Philippa Lynette Lindsay, 32, read an apology in the Queenstown District Court this afternoon before her sentencing, stating she was "deeply sorry" to NZ Post, affected residents and the Queenstown community.
She said it was never her intention to steal the mail from the beginning - the first piece of mail stolen was taken on her first day as a contracted postal worker on September 13, 2010.
She told the court she was "not a malicious person" and was ready to accept the penalty for theft by a person in a special relationship between September 13, 2010 and November 9, 2012.
In all, police recovered 21,382 items - up on previous estimates of about 17,000.
Of the hoard, 1577 items had been opened.
Included in the haul were medical certificates; letters scheduling appointments or advising of results; final demands for bill payments, as well as invoices; certification from educational institutes; invitations; birthday cards; letters to young children from grandparents; and gifts.
Judge Kevin Phillips sentenced her to one year and five months' imprisonment and ordered her to pay $30,000 to NZ Post along with a total of $354 reparation to affected residents.
- additional reporting Mountain Scene