Post Office workers who had wrongful convictions for theft and false accounting given to them based on evidence from the now discredited Horizon IT system are to be offered £600,000 each in compensation.

More than 700 branch managers were given criminal convictions when faulty accounting software made it look like money was missing from their sites.

At the time of writing, 86 of those convictions have been overturned.

The compensation is for postmasters whose convictions relied on the now discredited Horizon IT system, in return for them settling their claims, BBC News reports.

They added: "Postmasters who have already received initial compensation payments, or have reached a settlement with the Post Office of less than £600,000, will be paid the difference."

The Argus spoke to former subpostmaster Sami Sabet, from Shoreham, who said he suffered a heart attack due to the stress after faulty accounting software made it look as though money had been taken.

The Argus: Postmasters who have already received some compensation will be paid the difference if less than £600,000Postmasters who have already received some compensation will be paid the difference if less than £600,000 (Image: Rui Vieira/PA Wire)

People have 'suffered horrendous situations' due to Horizon scandal

There are other postmasters still waiting to have their convictions overturned, and those who do successfully based on Horizon evidence will be entitled to the same compensation.

Kevin Hollinrake, the Post Office Minister appointed last autumn, told the BBC: "If you've suffered a conviction, and you've had that conviction overturned, £600,000 is there waiting for you.

"We're doing this because people have suffered horrendous situations of course, financial loss as well as personal damage to reputation, and many other things have happened to people. So we want to get this compensation out the door."

He added: "If you've suffered, if you've spent time in jail, if you lost your house, if your marriage has failed, all those things - if those things have happened to you, no amount of money will ever be enough."

The Argus: The inquiry into the Horizon scandal is set to conclude in 2024The inquiry into the Horizon scandal is set to conclude in 2024 (Image: PA)

Mr Hollinrake also said that if people believed their claim was worth more than £600,000 then they could "still go through the normal routes."

Some £21m has been paid in compensation so far to postmasters with overturned convictions.

Between 2000 and 2014, the Post Office prosecuted 736 sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses - an average of one a week - based on information from a recently installed computer system called Horizon.

Some went to prison following convictions for false accounting and theft. Many were financially ruined and have described being shunned by their communities.

The Horizon inquiry is investigating the scandal and is likely to conclude in 2024.