A NEWPORT man must pay £3,000 in compensation to supermarket giant Tesco after pleading guilty to dishonestly receiving stolen savings stamps and using them to buy goods.

Terence Phillips, of Woodside, Duffryn, was offered the stolen stamps last year by a colleague, while working for Taffs Well-based courier firm City Link The company delivered the stamps under contract with Tesco, and the latter launched an inquiry last year after noting a significant rise in South Wales in the use of the stamps to pay for goods.

That inquiry traced their use back to Mr Phillips, involving a total of £3,428 between February 19 and May 29 last year, and also revealed that he was a City Link employee. He was arrested last month (DEC).

It had previously been discovered that another City Link employee had been charged with theft involving more than £6,000 of savings stamps, an offence for which he received a suspended prison sentence last August.

Newport magistrates heard that Phillips initially denied any knowledge of the matter until shown Tesco’s findings.

He then told police he had been given the savings stamps by a City Link employee, though he did not name him.

The unusual spending ended when Phillips left City Link last May.

He pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods, and to committing fraud by false representation under the Fraud Act 2006.

He accepted he had received £3,000 in stolen vouchers but disputed the remaining £428 in the charge as he and his wife collected stamps themselves and used those to buy items.

When asked by police during interview why he had taken the stamps, he said that being offered them was “like giving a dog a juicy bone”.

The court was told that his offences were acts of stupidity. He said he had used the stamps to buy fuel to get to and from work.

In addition to having to pay back £3,000, Phillips was given a 12-month community order, involving being tagged and observing a curfew from 8pm-8am for six months.