Damaged and stolen parcels cost Royal Mail £20m in compensation


ROYAL Mail bosses have paid out more than £20million in compensation to customers who have had their post damaged or stolen.

It also emerged nearly 600 posties were caught stealing since January 2010 and some customers are still waiting for their Christmas cards.

Over the last three years nearly 3.75 million complaints have been lodged against the national courier service.

Mail bosses claim all staff caught stealing have been sacked


Royal Mail claimed one of the reasons for the increase in thefts or damaged goods was that staff were being targeted by criminals while doing their rounds.

But campaigners said postal workers have to “get their act together” in order to justify increasing postal charges.

The startling figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, show £20,421,848 was paid out between 2009 and 2012.

Compensation was paid out for mail that was either lost, misdirected or damaged.

Other handouts were given for stolen goods such as Christmas cards containing money and valuable parcels.

Post bosses also claimed any worker convicted of was dismissed from Royal Mail.

The statistics also show an increase in claims as £4.4million was paid out in 2009/10 compared with £6m in 2011/12.

Robert Downey from Forum of Private Business said: “Many businesses rely on the Royal Mail to get their wares to customers safely – these figures suggest this is happening less and less.

“This increase in compensation comes despite hefty price hikes by Royal Mail not 12 months ago.

“Royal Mail have to get their act together when it comes to delivering items on time and, preferably, in the same state as when posted.”

Gary Kinghorn, a postman from Musselburgh in East Lothian, escaped jail despite hiding 2,500 letters in his loft and car.

The 46-year-old failed to deliver the mail and blamed it on the stress of dealing with his brother who was charged with murder.

He was discovered after a customer complained he hadn’t received any birthday cards – Kinghorn was handed a 200-hour community payback order last year.

In July last year Christopher Scott admitted stealing Tesco clubcards from people’s mail.

The Aberdeen postie was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

In 2010, Aberfeldy postman William Harvey was also given community service after he was caught stealing money from birthday cards.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We take every complaint seriously and continually strive to provide the best possible service.

“If something goes wrong our aim is to promptly deal with the problem and rectify it as soon as possible.

“We remain very vigilant to any risk to the operation, including any threat from criminals outside Royal Mail who target postmen and women to steal mail they are carrying.”

Sian Jones, a spokeswoman for the Communication Workers Union that is responsible for post workers, said: “We do not condone theft and thankfully only a tiny percentage of mail items are affected.”




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  1. 3.75 million complaints in 3 years – that’s not that bad when you consider that is less than 6% of the DAILY traffic for Royal Mail.

    We delivered an average 68 million items per day during that time – so over 3 years that’s roughly 62,220,000,000 items making your figure around 0.006% of the total. As to the staff, 600 over 3 years or 200 a year is again a small percentage of the 160,000 that do an honest job (1/8 of 1% or 0.125%) –

    Any theft should be investigated and the guilty party given a prison sentence in my opinion, and all items should arrive in as good a condition as possible, just like any journalistic article should be balanced and show context.

    However when you just show raw numbers as you have done then this article just becomes sensationalism rather than journalism.

  2. They need to use the US system when prosecuting for stolen mail; that should cease this behavior, or at least bring it to a bare minimum! Just firing someone for stealing mail is not good enough. They need to be fired, fined and jailed for 10 years or more.
    I had items shipped to the UK in a box, and once it arrived there they ripped everything open, including a Christmas card. They stole 2 items out of 3 out of the box, and also left the ripped card in the box since nothing was in it. My brother went to pick up the package and noticed that the box was tampered with. He never even left the post office. Long story short, of course, they sent the package back to me and never claimed responsibility. The US postal service told me that they have such high and extensive security in their mail facilities, that it is unlikely that the theft happened here. Plus with the sentence that goes along with stealing mail, they said there would be tons of complaints for it to be worth it for the thief, and they didn’t have any other complaints regarding stolen mail. I’m very disappointed with how the UK Postal Service handled this. They should be ashamed! Stolen mail is a serious offense, not just a slap on the wrist punishment.

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