Khayyam Ishaq, 36, of Brewerton Lane, Dewsbury, was locked up by a judge at Bradford Crown Court after he admitted stealing the money while working at a post office in Birkenshaw.
Ishaq, who is married with children, had been working at the Bradford Road premises since the summer of 2008, but in February 2011 an audit uncovered “major discrepancies’’ relating to the sale of postage stamps.
Judge John Potter said between September 2010 and February 2011 Ishaq had stolen £17,863 by taking money which had been used to buy stamps. Ishaq had then tried to cover up the losses by making it appear that the stamps had never been sold.
When he was questioned about the discrepancies Ishaq suggested that someone else may have been responsible or that the Post Office computer system had a fault.
Ishaq went on trial earlier this year, but after a work colleague had given evidence he changed his plea and admitted the theft.
Barrister Adam Birkby, for Ishaq, said he was a man of previous good character who had contributed to life in his community.
He said Ishaq felt shame about what he had done and he wanted to apologise to the Post Office, his family and the community.