PUBLISHED: 16:33 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:27 01 July 2010
OUR exclusive gallery of pictures above exposes a member of the Royal Mail postal staff cavalierly dumping parcels and letters despite the nation s growing fears over identity theft. The Bromley Times can reveal the dodge has been happening for weeks in
OUR exclusive gallery of pictures above exposes a member of the Royal Mail postal staff cavalierly dumping parcels and letters despite the nation's growing fears over identity theft.
The Bromley Times can reveal the dodge has been happening for weeks in Wood Drive, off Elmstead Lane, Chislehurst, where morning staff deposit bags of mail in bushes to be picked up hours later by colleagues.
The scandal comes in wake of the loss of two government CDs in November holding personal information about 25 million people. The scandal sparked a national debate on data security.
The Times was alerted to the problem by an 'extremely worried' resident living in Elmstead Lane, Chislehurst, who did not wish to be named.
He said: "It is absolutely scandalous that my mail should be left open to identity theft.
"There are people who have their bank statements there and it's particularly bad over the festive season when people have parcels going through that could be very valuable."
Once the scam was reported to the Times, our reporters twice watched postal staff collect bags of mail that had been left by the pavement for anyone to take.
Residents regularly saw the bags stowed away, despite a Post Office being only a few hundred yards away in Walden Road.
When confronted by the Times, postman, John Farrell, said: "Personally I'm just told to pick it up from here.
"It could be left there for minutes, it could be there for hours.
"I can see where the residents are coming from. I can understand the risk completely."
Mr Farrell, who has been in the job seven weeks, added that the 'drops' occur elsewhere in the borough and are considered normal. The Commons Justice Committee said company bosses should be held responsible when data is lost repeatedly or through recklessness.
Bromley and Chislehurst MP, Bob Neill, one of the committee's 14 members, said: "This is disgraceful and if it is common practice it shouldn't be.
"You should be able to expect your mail to be secure between the sorting office and your front door. Someone needs a rocket up their backside for the New Year."
Mr Neill vowed to bring the matter up with the Justice committee.
A spokesperson for Royal Mail said that postmen may use approved drop-off points, but the spot your Times alerted the company to in Chislehurst was not one of them.
She added: "The security of mail is our top priority and we are urgently looking into this situation.
"Anything which comprises the security of mail is unacceptable."