A former subpostmaster from South Warnborough has said she is "glad former Post Office boss Paula Vennells will hand back her CBE following the fallout of the Horizon IT scandal.

The former chief executive, who ran the Post Office while it routinely denied there was a problem with its Horizon IT system, was appointed a CBE in December 2018.

It comes after demands for her to return the honour intensified after an ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office returned the widespread miscarriage of justice to the spotlight.

A petition calling for her to be stripped of the CBE had also reached more than one million signatures earlier this week.

READ MORE: Jo Hamilton calls for Paula Vennells to have CBE removed

Jo Hamilton, from South Wanborough, who was played by Bafta-winning actress Monica Donlan in the four-part drama, believes Ms Vennells – who oversaw the Post Office between 2012 and 2019 – should hand back her CBE.

Basingstoke Gazette: Jo Hamilton Jo Hamilton (Image: Jo Hamilton)

Reacting to the news she said she is “glad” Ms Vennells has handed her CBE back.

She said: “It shows the people have spoken – about everything really. It’s not just about her CBE, it’s about how disgusting the whole thing is.

“We’re all sick and tired of people taking money, being paid exorbitant amounts of money, and politicians taking absolutely no notice of you whatsoever… I think the people are just sick of it.”

She continued: “I’m glad she’s given it back. It’s a shame it took just a million people to cripple her conscience.”

Mother-of-two Jo was falsely accused of stealing £36,000 from the Post Office, which she ran at a village shop in South Warnborough.

She pleaded guilty in 2008 to false accounting for fear of going to prison. However, her conviction was quashed in 2021 after she was found to be a victim of the Horizon Post Office Scandal.

Ms Vennells, who was a parish priest before the scandal, has faced calls to be stripped of her CBE. She left the Post Office with a CBE for services to the organisation and charity, along with a £389,000 bonus.

“In spite of being a vicar, she doesn't seem to have any moral code,” Jo added. 

Basingstoke Gazette: Paula Vennells has said she will return her CBEPaula Vennells has said she will return her CBE (Image: Post Office/PA)

In a statement, Ms Vennells said: “I continue to support and focus on cooperating with the Inquiry and expect to be giving evidence in the coming months.

“I have so far maintained my silence as I considered it inappropriate to comment publicly while the Inquiry remains ongoing and before I have provided my oral evidence.

SEE ALSO: Post Office: Jo Hamilton's story to be told in new ITV drama

“I am, however, aware of the calls from subpostmasters and others to return my CBE.

“I have listened and I confirm that I return my CBE with immediate effect.

“I am truly sorry for the devastation caused to the sub-postmasters and their families, whose lives were torn apart by being wrongly accused and wrongly prosecuted as a result of the Horizon system.

“I now intend to continue to focus on assisting the Inquiry and will not make any further public comment until it has concluded.”