Letters ‘delayed’ for over a decade

HUNDREDS of letters dating back to 1999 destined for the Lurgan area have been found at the Royal Mail’s sorting office in Craigavon.

The letters were found abandoned in a locker at the sorting office at Balteagh.

Officials are holding an inquiry over how they remained dumped in the locker since the last millennium.

The items were destined for delivery in the Lurgan area and were found because new lockers had been brought in to replace the old ones.

Upper Bann MP David Simpson said: “The general public will be amazed that so many pieces of mail went unnoticed for so long. There could well have been pensioners or people on low incomes who had benefit payments delayed, or people on hospital waiting lists who missed appointments as a result of this.

“There could also have been people who didn’t get bills delivered through the post and as a consequence ended up on the wrong end of letters threatening legal proceedings against them when it wasn’t their fault. I’m astonished. The public will want to be assured that there can be no repeat of this.”

A spokesperson for Royal Mail said: “We apologise for the delayed delivery of a quantity of mail in the Lurgan area. This was due to breach of trust by an employee.

“Royal Mail has a zero tolerance policy towards the mistreatment of mail in our care and appropriate disciplinary action is always taken. We are sorry we have let customers down on this occasion and apologise for any upset the delayed delivery of this mail may cause.“

It is the second time that such a situated has occurred associated with the Balteagh sorting office. Just over a decade ago, a number of bags filled with letters and parcels were found in a pigeon shed in Craigavon, with the result that an employee was prosecuted.