“IT’S upsetting – this town is not known for fraud, especially on a scale like this.”

That’s the view of Totton South district councillor David Harrison after four men were jailed for their part in defrauding the local Post Office out of more than £700,000.

Last week, Manish Parmar, former postmaster of the Post Office located inside the Best One off licence, on Rumbridge Street, was sentenced to six years and six months behind bars at Southampton Crown Court for his leading role in the fraud.

Parmar, 34, of Wilton Road, Southampton, would send on pay-in slips to the Post Office’s headquarters, even though the branch had been closed for months, with the organisation unaware of the closure.

Reacting to the sentencing, Cllr Harrison, New Forest councillor, and leader of the Liberal Democrats in the area, said: “Totton is not a town which is known for fraud – especially on a scale of like this.

“It’s upsetting because this side of Totton is in need of a good post office.

“Now we have one at the nearby Spar, which is being supported very well. It would seem that justice has been done.”

He added: “I think most people are intelligent enough to make distinction and not blame the Post Office because it is a very trusted organisation.”

The Post Office was criticised last week for failing to give information over to prosecutors “in a timely fashion” to help convicted the gang of 12 for their part in the fraud.

When asked by the Daily Echo why it was unable to trace the fraud and whether internal systems needed to be changed following the incident, which took place between April 2015 and January 2016, it said: “We do not comment on individual cases, and this has now been dealt with by the police and courts.

“However, Post Office takes a zero tolerance policy to the rare incidents of dishonesty and we always seek to take action against those responsible.”

The Echo reported yesterday that one of the gang of 12 had also been sentenced.

Robert Rayment, of Fourshells Close, Fawley, was found guilty of money laundering.

The 47-year-old has been sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

He has also been ordered to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work.