Former sub-postmistress only realised she was victim of Horizon scandal after watching ITV drama

WATCH: Former sub-postmistress says she's been encouraged by the effect the ITV drama has had on public opinion

A former sub-postmistress only realised she was one of hundreds of workers affected by the faulty Horizon computer system after watching the ITV drama 'Mr Bates vs the Post Office'.

Cheryl Shaw, from Sussex, ran the post office at Goring-by-Sea in the early 2000s and says it was a dream job.

However, soon after she arrived, shortfalls in the accounts appeared because of the faulty Horizon computer system.

Cheryl ended up leaving the job suddenly, after running up thousands of pounds of debt.

She said: "Everything started to go wrong. As time went on, it just got worse and worse. I could be £400 or £500 short every week.

"I just thought I kept making mistakes and that I was hopeless at it. I didn't know what to do with myself."

WATCH: Cheryl Shaw describes how the faulty Horizon system impacted her life

Unlike many of those portrayed in ITV's new drama on the scandal, Cheryl Shaw wasn't prosecuted but says she was forced to sell up.

She had to sell her home to repay the Post Office money it said was missing from the tills.

Her local MP says another local post office was also investigated - something that should have rung alarm bells.

Cheryl feels she has still been tarnished by the scandal and reached out to a local Facebook group to explain why she left and that she was not a thief.

She said: "I hated the thought that my customers thought that. They have now reassured me that they didn't, and they are all for me.

"They now say how much they like me and that's given me so much confidence to go on with this matter. My customers love me and that's what I miss most really.

"I hope, I, like so many other people, are now able to get on with the rest of their lives."

The MP for Worthing West, Peter Bottomley, is supporting the government's move to clear the names of all those convicted or accused.

He said: "I think that those who were convicted need to be shown that they are innocent.

"Those who paid up, so have already been charged, should be reimbursed and compensated.

"And those who were put through the hell of trying to prove they haven't taken money, should get recognition as well."

Encouraged by the effect the drama has had on public opinion, Cheryl now plans to file a claim for compensation.

The Post Office has apologised for the scandal and is urging anyone affected to come forward.

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