A former co-licensee of an Australia Post office who admitted stealing more than $50,400 has been spared an immediate jail term.
Debbie Ruth Noone, 58, was responsible for running all costs associated with the Southern Cross business including staff wages, utility bills and accepting payments from customers on behalf of Australia Post.
Noone stole money between September 2014 and May 2015, and the cash deficiency was discovered after an audit by Australia Post, the WA District Court heard on Tuesday.
"It's very important that Australia Post is able to trust those who are in the position of licensee in smaller communities," Judge Julie Wager said.
"If it's not going to operate efficiently then it's going to end up depriving people who live in smaller communities of essential services and things that they need."
Judge Wager noted Noone was not involved in a sophisticated set-up and there was no greed or premeditation to her offending.
"It was simply that you didn't keep things balanced in the way that you were required to do and your debts got out of control," she said.
"There was chaos in the business and in your life, so I accept that you personally didn't benefit significantly or really much at all, and the money was used to pay others and to ensure that the business kept going."
Judge Wager also acknowledged Noone had worked hard to make life changes while under a pre-sentence order.
Noone was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for 18 months with strict conditions.
She was also told to pay back the money she stole.