https://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk ... go-astray/FURIOUS residents are demanding answers after a number of people reported receiving mail which had apparently been tampered with.
Concerned Kendalians contacted the Gazette to say envelopes had been slit open and in some cases money and birthday or condolence cards removed.
Judith Blaydes, whose husband Mel died aged 78 in April after catching coronavirus while in hospital, has received a succession of deliveries over the last two weeks consisting of envelopes - some of them completely empty - which appeared to have been deliberately slit open.
She described the condition of the mail, which had April postage dates and was presumably condolence cards, as a ‘kick in the heart’.
“I’m just really upset,” said Mrs Blaydes, 74.
“My husband died by himself - it’s been a completely distressing time for me and it still is.
“I think there’s somebody who’s been looking at birthday cards, any sort of card - maybe they have money in.”
Each envelope came in a plastic bag with a letter from Rebecca Dale, office manager at Kendal Delivery Office, apologising ‘for the delay and damage caused to the attached mail’.
Ms Dale said in the letter: “I’d like to offer my sincere apologies for any inconvenience or distress you may experience as a result of receiving this mail after such a long time and in this condition.
“In Royal Mail we take the delay and damage to mail very seriously and we don’t tolerate mistreatment of mail in our care.
“The matter is currently under investigation and we will be taking all steps necessary to prevent a recurrence of this incident.”
Another Kendal resident who has experienced problems with her mail is Pam Adamson - a friend of Mrs Blaydes.
Ms Adamson’s birthday was in April and another friend sent her money for a future holiday. The card finally arrived around two weeks ago, in a clear plastic bag with a letter of apology, but the money was not with it.
“When I phoned her to say it had arrived, that’s when she told me there’d been 50 euros in it,” said Ms Adamson.
“I was disappointed that my friend and I lost the 50 euros. That was my birthday present. I just hope that the Royal Mail are addressing the issue and that it’s not going to happen again.”
She feared there could be many other people affected besides her and Mrs Blaydes.
“If there’s two of us who know each-other, and it came into our conversation somehow, how many other people are affected? That’s what I wonder,” she said.
“It’s just that Judith and I discussed it, but there could be a lot of other people.”
Yet another Kendalian who contacted the Gazette was Nigel Nelson, who received birthday cards in the same plastic packaging and with a delay of a number of months.
His sixtieth was in February.
He said three very belated envelopes arrived, one of which had no card in at all. He and wife Rose later discovered £20 was missing from one of the cards.
The couple have themselves had money they sent to others go astray as well. They said a card sent to their 16-year-old granddaughter in Cleethorpes, near Grimsby, in February arrived late and with the money removed.
£20 sent with a card to their son-in-law in Doncaster never arrived, and neither did another £20 sent to a friend in west Cumbria who was raising money for charity.
“My granddaughter - I think that she thought that we’d forgotten her,” said Mr Nelson.
“It’s an abuse of trust . You get the same letter - ‘it’s been ‘mislaid’ or ‘damaged’.
“It’s not been damaged or mislaid. It’s been stolen.
“I’m hoping the Royal Mail could give us some proper answers.”
In all cases the residents called a number for the Royal Mail’s Glasgow contact centre which was on the letters. Their reports of these conversations range from being told their post had been damaged and ‘it’s just the way it is’ to being informed nothing could be done as the mail had not been sent using recorded delivery.
Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron called for an ‘immediate investigation’ into the incidents.
“It’s so important that we all continue to have confidence in the Royal Mail and the great job that postal workers have done in this crisis, often being the only people that isolated people get to talk to during a day,” he said.
“It is therefore extremely worrying that it looks like someone has breached that trust.
“There needs to be an immediate and thorough investigation so that this can be stamped out, anything that has been stolen is returned, and that confidence in the Royal Mail can be restored.”
The Royal Mail could not be contacted for further comment.