Covid: London post delays are so bad people are getting Christmas presents in January

Huge delays in postal services in South London has meant residents expecting Christmas gifts arriving before December 24 actually received them on January 11.

People living in Peckham, Nunhead and Dulwich say they’re fed up of waiting weeks to get letters and parcels.

More than 1,200 residents have signed a petition demanding Royal Mail take action to end delays in these areas.

Locals say the long waits, which started last summer due to Covid, snowballed in the run-up to the festive season.

READ MORE:Christmas presents face ‘huge delays’ as London delivery office hit by Covid outbreak

They believe local sorting offices were unable to deal with a surge in staff absences due to the Omicron variant and a deluge of Christmas presents.

Sue Hill, 71, who lives in Peckham, said she only received a gift of gin sent to her from Scotland on December 7 over a month later on January 11.

She said: “I didn’t even think it was coming. It was not until the new year that a friend asked ‘did you get a new bottle of gin from me?’ and I said ‘no I didn’t.’

“I was going to track it down and then all of a sudden last week it arrived. I was impressed it wasn’t broken

“I got a whole bunch of letters and cards too. Some were from the day before but some were from weeks before. There was no order to it.”

Sue Hill’s Christmas gift of gin from a friend finally arrived on January 11

Miss Hill said there had been on and off issues with the post since Covid began.

The latest set of delays started during summer 2021, with deliveries reducing to three to four times a week.

But the length of the waits increased with the spread of the Omicron variant.

She said: “There was a slow decline which accelerated with Omicron. They were delivering cards a few times a week. Sometimes I had a bunch of cards two inch thick.

“I have a good relationship with my postman so I’ve decided not to complain.

“I understand it’s because of extenuating circumstances. At least my gin did arrive – even if I didn’t know it was coming.”

Other residents said they have missed important medical appointments because of delays in letters arriving.

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One woman said she had missed paying a fine because the notice arrived after the payment deadline.

More than 1,200 residents have signed a petition demanding Royal Mail take action around Peckham Rye, East Dulwich and Dulwich Village.

Residents in other areas including Lewisham, Sydenham and Brockley are also experiencing long waits for post.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Deliveries are operating as normal across most of the country. We aim to deliver to all addresses we have mail for six days a week.

“In a small number of local offices this may temporarily not be possible due to local issues such as COVID-related self-isolation, higher than usual levels of sickness absence, resourcing or other local factors.

“We are providing targeted support to the local offices affected by these issues and we apologise to customers for any inconvenience they may have experienced.

“Our postmen and women are continuing to work incredibly hard, as they have done throughout the pandemic, and we are thankful for all of their efforts and determination.”

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