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Last Updated: Monday, 25 July, 2005, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Postwoman hoarded tonnes of mail
sorting office
The mail was taken by truck to a Royal Mail depot
The Royal Mail has launched an investigation after thousands of lost letters were found at a Plymouth postal worker's home, the BBC has learned.

It is understood that a female postal worker had stored the mail at her house over a period of seven years.

When the Royal Mail staff searched her home they found so much post in the spare room that it had to be taken away in a lorry and a van.

The worker is now co-operating with the Royal Mail in its inquiries.

Mail in car

Police said they would investigate if there was a complaint by the public.

When the Royal Mail became suspicious it checked one of their postwomen's cars which had a lot of undelivered mail in the boot.

The relief postwoman, or "floater" as they are known, was delivering mail over two very large postal areas of Plymouth.

The Royal Mail confirmed what had happened, saying all the mail found would be delivered to customers next week with a letter explaining the circumstances.

It also said that it took security of customers' mail very seriously.

'Rightful recipients'

A statement said: "We operate a zero-tolerance policy towards the mistreatment of mail in our care and will take all appropriate action."

A spokesman for Postwatch, the watchdog for postal services, said: "Obviously we are concerned that an amount of mail has been withheld by a Royal Mail employee.

"We hope that Royal Mail will work hard to get that mail to its rightful recipients as soon as possible with a suitable explanation.

"We know that the Royal Mail is very good at taking action and investigating these incidents."

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