"It caused very significant losses to Royal Mail"
Mubashir Khan, aged 43, of Billesley, Birmingham, has been jailed for twenty-seven months after “washing” and selling stamps on eBay.
He ran the illegal business from his home and made more than £100,000.
Khan passed off used stamps as new and sold them on eBay. When his home was searched, officers found 60 kilograms of stamps.
Royal Mail staff came to know about Khan’s offence when he began using the stamps on his own post. The prosecutor Ben Gow told Birmingham Crown Court:
“He was purchasing used stamps and he then adapted them so they would pass off as unused.
“He then sold to purchasers, primarily on eBay between October 2016 and October 2018.”
Khan purchased first and second class stamps in bulk from charities or other organisations. Mr Gow went on to say:
“He subjected them to a chemical process removing cancellation markings.
“He removed the glue from the back and dried them, effectively restoring them as close as possible to an unused state.
“He sold them on eBay at a significant discount, up to 50 per cent of their face value. Nevertheless, that represented a significant profit to himself.”
But Khan “gave himself away” by using the washed stamps on his own mail. Some of them also “looked pale.”
Over a two-year period, Khan sold them with a face value of £241,000 and received £114,000.
Investigating officers from the Royal Mail discovered the fraud when they made searches on eBay and tested purchases.
It revealed that there were several repeat customers including one who had made fifty-six orders.
The investigation also led them to Billesley Post Office where they recovered eighty-one items sent out by Khan with washed stamps.
On October 30, 2018, Khan was arrested. His home was searched and officers found the large quantity of stamps. They also discovered large amounts of chemicals.
Mr Gow added:
“The quantity of stamps that he had gives you an idea of the scale of the enterprise.”
Khan’s phone also had text messages about the stamps. The father-of-three pleaded guilty to supplying articles for fraud.
Balbir Singh, defending, explained that Khan was a family man who was trying to work around his family’s needs.
He said his client had set up an eBay business involving cakes, which had resulted in him coming across others who were selling stamps.
Judge Paul Farrer explained that Khan had sold stamps on eBay on 3,000 occasions and that he had “acquired the expertise and equipment to wash them.” He said:
“I conclude this was a planned enterprise. It was designed and indeed did yield substantial sums.
“It caused very significant losses to Royal Mail and there was some element of sophistication.”
Birmingham Mail reported that Mubashir Khan was sentenced to 27 months in prison.