Postman guilty of hoarding 30k undelivered letters and parcels

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A postman has been found guilty and sentenced to 280 hours of unpaid work after 30k undelivered letters and parcels were found at his home.

Paul Willicott from Paignton in Devon claimed that he couldn’t deliver all his mail in his four hour shift and began stashing the stuff at his home and in his car. He confessed to two charges under the Postal Services Act of delaying a postal packet or mailbag between October 2008 and June 2011. Willicott will also pay £1700 costs.

67 bags of post were found, unopened at his home and, astonishingly, he hid the bags from his wife and family. One third of the undelivered material was junk mail but the rest consisted of letters and parcels meant for local people on his round. It seems likely that some of those undelivered parcels will have been eBay items.

Willicott, 44, told Torbay magistrates that he intended to deliver all the mail when his workload was lighter but he was unable to do it.

Magistrate David Thompson said this was “an extremely serious matter”. He added: “People have a right to expect their mail to appear at the appointed time. This was a large amount of mail, it was obviously taken over a large period of time. It constitutes a significant breach of trust.”

The postman was busted when a passer-by spotted him putting undelivered mail into his garage. A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Every item of mail is very important to us. We have a zero tolerance approach to any dishonesty and this stance is shared by the overwhelming majority of postmen and women.”

40 Responses

  1. Our mail is all small packets and some goes missing everyweek. But this is very bad, I wonder if Royal Mail has now delivered it all.

  2. I wonder how many ebay sellers bothered to claim back the money from Royal Mail when they had to refund the buyer for an undelivered item. I have just had a buyer come back to me over an undelivered item. It was a low value sale (£8.50) and sent 1st class with proof of postage but I don’t think I’ll bother claiming it back, I just have to take the hit. Something I now budget for due to the amount of lost parcels etc.
    Things like this really annoy me though and it sounds like it is the Royal Mails fault for over working the posties and giving them impossible amounts of mail to deliver in a round. And it must be even tougher with all the parcels they have to deliver in this day and age of online shopping. I’d happily pay more for postage if I could guarantee it would reach the recipient in good time and in one piece.
    Anyway, not sure why I’m venting all this now, maybe it is because it is a Friday afternoon and I’m half way through my first beer of the weekend. Talking of which, have a great weekend!

  3. Panarama did a program on the new Postman working terms where they have to walk at 4 mph and deliver all their mail in a certain amount of time. Panarma had an army PE instructor do a post round delivering leaflets on a real postmans round and he failed to deliver the leaflets in the given time.

    This army PE instructor said that what the Royalmail where getting their postman and women to do was unrealistic for an ordinary member of the public to do, remembering that he is an army PE instructor and he failed to do it in the given time himself.

    What I would like to point out is that the Royalmail probably would have disciplined the above postman for not doing all his work and so he rightly or wrongly hid the undelivered mail to prevent disciplinary action.

    This is a sad fact about modern businesses where the companies bully and intimidate there work force. I’m not a postman and I’m not saying who’s in the right or who’s in the wrong, its the way companies bully staff in the name of profit that I find wrong.

  4. Almost Forty years ago I worked as the Group Internal Auditor of a particular organisation. One of the men I worked closely with was the Work Study Manager of the same organisation. In those days it was possible to calculate what a reasonable amount of work was for an operative to do in the working day.

    As I understand this instance the postmans route is now covered by two postmen and they are allowed more time each to do their section of his route than he was allowed for the whole route.

    Why did not the Royal Mail not realise that what they were asking was impossible? Why didn’t their Work Study(I take it that they have such a thing) realise that it was impossible? Obviously the Postman is at fault but from what I understand the system does not allow a Postman who has serious problems to raise them. Quite frankly the RM Management do not come out well in this instance. Obviously there have been others where the Postman is at fault but this time it appears to be more the RM Management and the System.

  5. Surely eBay could check their records for sales and item not received claims from the area and put in a bulk claim on behalf of eBay sellers?

    But why bother will be their attitude I guess.

  6. total bollocks no excuses its not royal mails fault

    there are thousands of other postmen that deliver or non here would have an ebay business

  7. .

    Just how many other posties, have a similar problem, that RM do not ‘yet’ know about….

    We have lost, so much Post lately, it has become a joke…..14 days for 1st class packet PPI, is quite stupid & it’s not Christmas yet….

  8. At least this guy kept the parcels safe at his home. I had a postman once who just dumped the box I was sending by the side of the road and left it there. If one of my neighbors didn’t notice and warn me about it I would have lost just over $1000 worth of personal belongings.

  9. There is one point about the Mailman and his undelivered Post. He claimed that he did not have time to deliver it all in his shift but that he was going to try to deliver it later and never got round to it.

    Well working on the fact that his “walk” started at A and carried on to B. Surely he would have tended to run out of time about the same place each day. So the mail for A to C(a point on his route) would have been delivered reasonably well. It was only the post for C to B(the end of his route) that would have really suffered. Most days these “customers” would have received no post at all.

    I take it that they would have noticed that they did not receive their post, in fact any post, for days, weeks or even months. The letter that they expected. The present for their childs birthday. The Hospital Appointment etc just did not arrive. Didn’t they query this. Didn’t anybody at RM wonder why these “customers” seemed never to get any mail?

    On the other side if he had been serious about delivering the post why didn’t he sort each weeks undelivered post out and go round the C to B houses on his day off(I take it that he had a day off-certainly my postman seems only to work a 5 day week) After all it might mean no post for a few days and then the mat inside the front door piled high on one day but at least they would have their post.

    Then on the day off I take it that another Postman delivered the mail. Was he able to complete the route or did he have the same problems? Did he take the C to B post home with him or return it to the sorting office? If he completed the route why didn’t somebody wonder why they only got post on the usual postman had his days off?

    I am willing to give him some of the benefit of the doubt but there are serious questions for RM. After all ultimately they are in charge. If there are problems they should be identified early rather than waiting for thousands of items to have built up in his garage and the alarm was only raised because a passer by noticed the Postman adding to his collection of undelivered mail.

  10. You have to question the Royal Mail compensation claims department.

    Surely they would have had a hot spot of claims for lost mail from a certain area in Paignton and alarm bells would have rung?

    Maybe they did of course and it took time to bring the investigation to a conclusion.

  11. It would seem easy enough to issue each postperson with a PDA (similar to the ones used by courier companies) that would record where they were (and at what time). If they are meant to deliver to a certain street, but do not go near it then suspicions should be raised.

    I would also like the same to be used whenever an item is carded (this time with a barcode added to the item, even if not on a tracked service) to make sure that a genuine delivery attempt is being made. All too often I get a card delivered by the letter delivery person the day after the delivery attempt. Why is it that the letter delivery person can usually get into my stairwell, but the larger package delivery person seems to be incapable of pressing the buzzer.


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