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Fraudster "key" to criminal enterprise

A man charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and jailed for seven years, has been described as "key" to a criminal enterprise resulting in losses of over £1million to a number of banks.

Following an investigation by Royal Mail and West Midlands Police, Paul Akuda was observed carrying out the theft of chequebooks from Royal Mail's central sorting depot in Birmingham and was subsequently arrested and charged for his part in the crime.

Kerry Moreton, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said Mr Akuda from Handsworth, abused his position of trust within the Royal Mail:

Mr Akuda began a campaign of dishonesty against his employers which resulted in innocent members of the public having their chequebooks stolen and money taken out of their bank accounts...

Over a seven month period, Akuda stole cheque books from the sorting depot where he worked and then sold these books on to third parties who would then use them in fraudulent transactions...

Although his illegal activities resulted in losses of over a £1million to a number banks, there was no evidence to suggest that Akuda was more deeply involved in the frauds than acting as the original thief and supplier of the chequebooks, but his actions were key to the whole enterprise and without which the rest of the fraud could not have taken place.

Postal worker jailed for £1.2million fraud

A postal worker from Handsworth, in Birmingham, has been jailed for seven years after he was found guilty of conspiring to commit fraud amounting to losses of £1.2million.

The theft of hundreds of cheque books took place at a sorting office in Birmingham... Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

64-year-old Paul Akuda worked at the Royal Mail's central sorting depot at Mail Centre, St Stephens Street in Birmingham, from November 2003 until his suspension on 26 May 2011.

An investigation found that over five-hundred chequebooks were stolen from the depot between October 2010 and May 2011 alone, most of which Mr Akuda is deemed responsible for.

Although he received little financial benefit from the crime hiimself, his actions resulted in losses of over a £1million to a number banks, according to the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service.

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Men arrested after Walsall robbery near bank

A bag, thought to be full of cash, was lying near the Audi car earlier today Credit: John Robinson

Two men have been arrested in Walsall this afternoon as police continue hunt masked men who robbed a man near a local bank.

Police were called at 1.20pm today after three men jumped out of an Audi car and grabbed a bag containing a large amount of cash from a man who had just visited HSBC on New Road, Willenhall.

Police, in an unmarked police car, forced the Audi to stop. All of the occupants fled the vehicle and two were detained nearby.

The two arrested men, aged 20 and 26 are still in police custody.

Birmingham protest over Royal Mail privatisation

The Government announced its plans to privatise the postal service in July Credit: PA

Campaigners in Birmingham are protesting against the proposed privatisation of the Royal Mail today.

An event is being held at Handsworth library at lunchtime in protest of the plans.

A demo is being held in Handsworth in Birmingham later Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Government says the nationalised postal service needs the 'commercial freedom' of the private sector to be able to 'thrive.'

The move to float the company on the stock market was unveiled by business secretary Vince Cable last month.

If it goes ahead the Government would keep a 49% share.

The Communication Worker's Union, who have organised today's demo in Handsworth, says Ministers are 'deluded' over the potential sale.

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Christmas stamp design competition to be launched at Walsall school

Six Royal Mail Christmas stamps by Raymond Briggs Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Royal Mail will be at The Radleys Primary School in Walsall today to encourage children to submit designs for 2013's Christmas stamps.

It is only the third time since 1966 and 1981 that the official Christmas stamp has been designed by children.

The theme this year is 'What does the Christmas season mean to you?' and the competition is open to children aged 4-11.

As with all special stamps issued by the Royal Mail, the designs will have to be approved by the Queen.

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