A former Capitol Heights mail carrier was sentenced Friday to one year and a day in prison for destroying mail, federal authorities said.

Christopher Bradford, 42,  of Upper Marlboro, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release. Authorities said burned and discarded mail that should have gone to residents along Bradford’s route was found in a wooded lot in Capitol Heights.

According to evidence presented in court, beginning in 2009 residents along Bradford’s route began to complain of not receiving mail for days at a time, authorities said.

On September 21, 2009, police received a tip from someone who witnessed a Postal Service employee unloading several trays of mail from a mail truck at a secluded location in Capitol Heights.

The Prince George’s County Police officer who responded reported finding three trays of undelivered mail, and a large amount of burned mail spread across the wooded lot.

Supervisory employees from a local post office and agents of the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General were called to the scene and recovered mail from dating back to June 2009.

Later that afternoon, Bradford returned to the burn site in his postal truck, which held nearly all of his route’s mail for the day.

Joanne Yarbrough, special agent in charge, U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General said, “unfortunately, there are a few postal employees, very few, who abuse the public trust placed in them, but successful prosecutions provide a significant deterrence against such crimes.”

Bradford was a letter carrier for 15 years at the Capitol Heights Post Office, authorities said.