Village post office is set to re-open

Jacqueline McDonald, 44 is accused of stealing �95,000 from Broughton Post Office
Jacqueline McDonald, 44 is accused of stealing �95,000 from Broughton Post Office
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A POST Office which closed after the post-mistress stole almost £100,000 from the branch is set to reopen.

Broughton Post Office, on Garstang Road, has been closed since former boss Jacqueline McDonald was discovered to have committed a series of thefts.

She pleaded guilty to theft and seven counts of false accounting and was jailed for 18 months in January at Preston Crown Court.

The shop has been closed since September 2009.

The Royal Mail remained tightlipped as to who has taken over the site, but hinted a deal was close.

A spokesman for Royal Mail, said: “We are working hard to get this up and running as soon as possible.

“We are trying our best to get it open sooner rather than later.”

Preston Coun Tom Davies, who represents the Preston Rural East ward, said: “It will be wonderful for it to reopen, there are a lot of pensioners around Broughton and it (the closure) means they have to go elsewhere.

“For some of them it is difficult, it will be a great help to the people of Broughton.

“The nearest Post Office is Bilsborrow or Fulwood on Garstang Road, they are a fair way away.”

Coun Davies said he hoped the post office’s reopening was crucial for the village community.He said: “It becomes a focal point for the village. People go to do whatever they go to do and have a natter, it is a hub of the village.”

Broughton has also entered the Britain in Bloom Best Kept Village competition.

But the land at the front of the Post Office has become unkempt with weeds sprouting up.

But volunteers are hoping the reopening could boost the village’s chances in future years.

Jacqueline McDonald took over the branch in December 2006 when she returned from the United States with her husband.

But McDonald admitted from March 2008 clearing “fictitious” figures relating to cash held on the premises.

On October 1, 2008, a Post Office business development officer visited the branch to check the amounts of cash being held and found a huge shortfall, which sparked an investigation.