'There was no training' Former postmistress caught up in Horizon scandal condemns lack of support

  • Former sub-postmistress Trevina Smith describes why she decided to quit her role.

A former village sub-postmistress who lost thousands of pounds of her own money in the Horizon scandal, has revealed that she and her colleagues were not given any training on the system when it launched.

Trevina Smith ran the post office in Steeple Claydon in Buckinghamshire for 14 years.

She lost £5000 trying to make up the shortfalls in the accounts because of the faulty Horizon computer system.

She's said the stress caused by it was a major contributing factor in her final decision close the Post Office last summer, which has not reopened since.

Speaking to ITV Meridian, Trevina said: "I took over round about the time that the Horizon system was coming in.

"There was no formal training with the system - it was just a booklet and a video and you taught yourself basically.

"Before I took over, I'd already experienced balances where there were losses, so I would just go to the former postmaster and apologise for the losses, sometimes £400 and he would make up the difference.

"But then when I took over the same thing was happening, month after month of losses.

"Luckily I was in a position where I could ask my husband to help me make up the losses, but there was never any help available - you rang the helpline, and after waiting 20 minutes to get through to someone, no-one could ever give you any explanation as to why your balances were wrong.

"The answer was always 'well you'll just have to put the money in.'"

Trevina's revelations come as the bosses of the Post Office and Fujitsu are questioned by MPs over the scandal.

The Horizon scandal saw more than 700 sub postmasters and sub postmistresses handed criminal convictions after Fujitsu’s faulty Horizon software made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

The Government has been scrambling to exonerate them and pay out compensation to those affected.

Trevina Smith has been watching the inquiry from the former post office where she worked. Credit: ITV Meridian

Trevina who has been watching the hearing from the former post office where she worked in Buckinghamshire, is one of those who is now fighting for compensation, having only realised she was entitled after watching the ITV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office.

"I didn't realise until the programme, because I wasn't prosecuted and no-one ever came knocking at my door, and I always put the money in, I didn't realise that I was still eligible to still make a claim against the losses over all the years.

"I just feel so sorry for them all.

"I'm sure there are a lot of people like myself who are thinking the same thing, that we have been through it, but we've not been put through what they were put through."

  • Trevina Smith has expressed her sympathy for other post office workers who suffered due to the Horizon scandal.

Speaking to MPs today, one of the bosses at Bracknell-based Fujitsu, apologised for its role in the scandal- and said the company had ''a moral obligation'' to compensate victims.

The firm's Horizon software led to hundreds of sub post masters and mistresses wrongly convicted of crimes like false accounting and theft.

Alan Bates and Jo Hamilton - whose stories are featured in the recent ITV drama have also been giving evidence today.

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