A SACKED delivery driver has been jailed for using his old uniform as cover to steal parcels from pick-up points in Chester.

Kristian Fryer, 41, of Heol Hyfryd, Gwersyllt, Wrexham, drove to three stores used by courier service Collect Plus on November 6 this year.

Recognising him, staff happily handed over up to 10 parcels described as a range of Christmas presents of unknown value.

Fryer claimed many were clothing which he had given to friends, and stated he had only stolen the packages because his former employer Yodel owed him £1,600 in wages.

Chester Magistrates' Court heard yesterday that he had been fired for stealing parcels while he was working for the company.

It also emerged he has a number of previous convictions for offences including theft and fraud.

Pleading with magistrates not to be sent to prison, Fryer said: “I want to apologise for my actions. I was stupid and chose the wrong thing to do.

“It was purely financial. I didn't want to keep the goods, I just wanted to force Yodel to pay me the money they owed me.”

But his pleas fell on deaf ears as he was sentenced to nine months immediate custody and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115 upon his release.

Fryer was said to have stolen a single parcel belonging to Collect Plus from Penny's Food and Drink on Chester Road, Huntington.

He also stole a number of parcels belonging to the same company from Spar on Long Lane, Upton, as well as a quantity from McColl's on Brook Lane, Newton.

Sohail Nazar, prosecuting, said on each occasion staff had recognised Fryer as a Yodel delivery driver and – unaware he had been sacked – handed over parcels.

So when another Yodel delivery man arrived later to collect the parcels the befuddled shop workers explained they had already been picked up.

Police were informed and Fryer was later arrested.

A search of his home revealed a Yodel uniform and coat.

The defendant claimed he had paid for the clothing himself when he joined the company and wore the coat on the day of the thefts because it was the only one he had.

Having spoken to Fryer to compile a pre-sentence report, probation officer Kim Graham told the court: “He went into the shop [Penny's] with the intention of buying a drink.

“Because the member of staff knew him, they handed him the parcel and stupidly he walked out with it.”

The same thing happened in the two other shops and again he took the “foolish” decision to keep the goods, she said.

“He takes full responsibility for his actions and has showed remorse,” Mrs Graham added.

The court heard Fryer had a large amount of debt, including court fines of £5,000. He previously had issues with gambling.