Postman denies stealing coal from priest

A PARISH priest returned home from a meeting to find his local postman stealing coal from his garage, it has been alleged.The Rev Geoffrey Clement had left the garage at his home at The Rectory, Shottisham, closed but unlocked on October 14 last year while he went out, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

A PARISH priest returned home from a meeting to find his local postman stealing coal from his garage, it has been alleged.

The Rev Geoffrey Clement had left the garage at his home at The Rectory, Shottisham, closed but unlocked on October 14 last year while he went out, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

When he returned at 10.30am he allegedly saw Mark Lillicrop, the local postman, carrying a bag of coal from his garage said Azza Brown, prosecuting.

Lillicrop had allegedly already put one bag of coal in his van and when challenged by Mr Clement he claimed he was collecting the coal for someone else, said Miss Brown.


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After his arrest Lillicrop told police that while he was on his rounds a man had told him he had an arrangement with the parish priest to buy two bags of coal off him and had given him £4.

He said he often dropped things off for people while he was on his rounds because he liked to be helpful. He also said he had never knowingly stolen anything.

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Lillicrop, 45, of Tennyson Close, Woodbridge has denied burglary.

Mr Clement told the court that Lillicrop was wearing his postman's uniform when he saw him carrying the coal out of his garage.

He said he was “rather stunned” when he saw what Lillicrop was doing and had said: “What is this all about?”

He said Lillicrop had told him that he was collecting the coal for a man.

He had then gone to his van and had come back with some loose change but told Mr Clement that he didn't think he had enough money.

Mr Clement said he told Lillicrop that if someone else wanted coal they should ask him for it and Lillicrop had left after putting the two bags of coal back in his garage.

Miss Brown claimed that Lillicrop had made up a story about being asked to pick up the coal for someone else because he was embarrassed at being caught red-handed by Mr Clement.

Miss Brown said that when the man Lillicrop claimed he was getting the coal for was questioned, he knew nothing about it.

The trial continues today.

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