Mail inquiry after bags snatched

A REVIEW of the way post is delivered in Ipswich is underway today after two mail bags were snatched from a street.The news comes as The Evening Star today revels that more than £60,000 was paid out to Royal Mail customers as a result of postal losses in the 'IP' postcode area in 2005/6 and more than £86,000 was given in compensation for all complaints in the area.

A REVIEW of the way post is delivered in Ipswich is underway today after two mail bags were snatched from a street.

The news comes as The Evening Star today revels that more than £60,000 was paid out to Royal Mail customers as a result of postal losses in the 'IP' postcode area in 2005/6 and more than £86,000 was given in compensation for all complaints in the area.

The stolen mail was taken from a garden in Anita Road East on Saturday after it was left in a 'safe drop' spot for the postman to collect it once they had finished delivering mail to nearby streets - a system Royal Mail uses throughout the town.

The letters and parcels were later discovered scattered across nettles in Chantry Park. All the mail had been opened by the thieves and destroyed.

Eileen Perkins, of Anita Close East in the Triangle Estate, said: “I'm disgusted by what's happened.

“The post is just left by the side of a house - it's not in a secure place.

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“Then they didn't even tell people the mail had been stolen. I could have had my bank details stolen and not know about it or be waiting for an air ticket.

“It's made me worried about using the post system now because I can't be sure it's secure.

“I can't believe it's just left outside houses where people can see it.”

Mum-of-one Mrs Perkins, 51, said she had contacted Royal Mail to complain about the situation and was told it would be looked into.

However despite writing a letter at the beginning of April the mail continued to be dropped off by the side of one of the houses on the road until Saturday morning when the two post bags were taken between 7am and 9am.

The theft was reported to Suffolk police by the delivery manager at Royal Mail's sorting office on Commercial Road, Ipswich, and the mail was later found by a park ranger in Chantry park and returned to the sorting office.

Royal Mail said the use of the 'safe drop' spot on Anita Close East had now been suspended and a review was underway into all of the 'safe drop' spots used in Ipswich.

A spokeswoman for Post Watch, the postal services regulator, added: “We have our concerns (about the 'safe drop' system). It does make sense but there are very strict guidelines about mail being secure and out of sight.

“We do understand that with the increasing volume of mail postmen can not carry it around all the time. But at the end of the day it is people's mail.”

n Are you shocked to hear the that mail is left in open spaces? Have you been affected by mail theft? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Royal Mail's response

A spokesman for Royal Mail said the company was reviewing all 'safe drop' sites and the one in Anita Close East had been suspended as a result of the theft.

He added: “Obviously the safety of our customer's mail is paramount. All 'safe drops' are being reviewed at the moment.

“The postman will often have more than one mail bag and to save him coming back to the office we have 'safe drops' in designated points.

“These are always in prearranged places. This is an arrangement we have used for many many years.

“If a customer complains about a particular matter we will look into it.”

Complaints and compensation

During the financial year 2005/6 more than 3,500 complaints were made to Royal Mail from people living in the 'IP' postcode area about lost mail. More than 2,100 of those complaints resulted in the company paying out compensation which totalled more than £60,000.

In total there were 8,699 complaints during the period, 3,770 of which received payouts totalling £86,695.

Complaints to Royal Mail from the 'IP' postcode area in 2005/6 include:

Loss 3,572 2,170 £60,042

Redirection Failure 879 200 £1,755

Delay 846 569 £5,775

Damage 521 325 £9,875

Property Damage 57 33 £2,809

Recovered Mail 32 6 £1,482

Total 8,699 3,770 £86,695

Royal Mail

n The Royal Mail traces its history back to 1516, when Henry VIII established a Master of the Posts.

n It was first made available to the public by Charles I on July 31, 1635, with postage being paid by the recipient, and the General Post Office (GPO) was officially established by Charles II in 1660.

n In 1969 the GPO was changed from a government department to a state-owned company.

n From January 1, 2006, the Royal Mail lost its 350-year monopoly and the UK postal market became fully open to competition.

n Stamps issued by the Royal Mail are the only stamps that don't bear the name of the country of issue on them.

n Royal Mail delivers 84 million items every working day and has a network of 14,376 post offices. Revenue for the year was £9.056 billion, and profits before tax were £312 million.

n Postcomm - the Postal Services Commission - is the independent regulator for the postal market. We were set up by the Postal Services Act 2000

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