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Royal Mail launches "urgent investigation" into unattended Brighton postbag
We take it as read that our post will arrive at its destination on time and in one piece. We send our personal details, bank cheques, medical information and gifts often without a thought for their safety. We trust the Royal Mail to process it and our postmen and women to deliver it. But as reporter Ben James found out, perhaps our mail is not as safe as we would like to think.
On the way to the shops on Saturday morning I nearly tripped over a trolley left on the pavement.
Upon closer inspection, I saw it belonged to the Royal Mail and was jammed full of parcels, letters and packages.
Worrying that someone might steal the items I stood next to it and waited for the postman to return. He did – nearly 12 minutes later.
Now the Royal Mail has launched an “urgent investigation” after we reported the incident to it yesterday morning.
A spokeswoman added that the incident was “unacceptable” and “absolutely contrary to all Royal Mail procedures”.
I came across the trolley on the corner of Windlesham Gardens and Windlesham Avenue, in the Seven Dials area of Brighton, at 9.15am on Saturday.
In the 12 minutes it was left unattended, eight people walked past, each turning to look at what was inside.
Without opening up the trolley, at least three Amazon packages, four bulky parcels and two energy bills were visible.
When I approached the postman on his return he told me it was “fine” and “not to worry”.
The Argus launched the Sort It Out campaign on March 30 after scores of complaints about the postal service in Brighton and Hove.
And although mail bosses said that the problems had been resolved by April 21, we have continued to receive complaints from customers.
Tony Robson, who makes charity gift cards, contacted The Argus after waiting for weeks for supplies to arrive through the post.
Speaking to The Argus yesterday, he said: “I don’t think it has got any better at all. However, I’m really shocked about this and I hope they come back with a decent explanation.
“The value of the items in those trolleys is probably well over £1,000. There will be expensive packages, cheques and cash in birthday cards. It only takes one yob who think it’s a bit of a joke and then you’ve lost the lot.”
Sarah McCool, who called The Argus after she received a fine for not responding to an item in the post she never received, added: “It’s extremely concerning.
“I’ve had lots of thing sent to me which I’ve never received and have no idea what has happened to them.”
Nigel Woods, a postal policy expert at Consumer Focus, added: “Clearly Royal Mail customers would expect their mail to be secure at all times.
“If a trolley or mail cannot be secured, then postmen or women should always be close at hand – at the very least the trolley should be within eyesight and items out of plain sight.”
Royal Mail spokeswoman Valerie Antoine said: “We are very concerned to learn that mail was allegedly left unattended.
“We have already launched an urgent investigation and will take the necessary steps to ensure that this does not happen again.
“We would like to assure customers that every item of mail is extremely important to us.”