Bogus postie walks off with sackful of mail; THEFT: Investigation after incident at butchers.
BUTCHER Tony Leach says a bogus postman walked in to his Coventry shop, which is used as a drop-off point for mailbags, and took a sackful destined for homes.
The man, in his 20s, walked into John Taylor and Son Butchers, in Earlsdon, at about 10am last Thursday and walked out with the postbag.
Mr Leach, shop manager at the butchers, at the corner of Newcombe Road and Earlsdon Avenue North, said he and his colleagues had been serving customers at the time.
He said he only realised something was wrong when the real postman turned up half-an-hour later, looking for the postbag, and discovered it had been taken.
The butchers is used as a drop-off point by postmen, where it is left at the shop and then picked up for the letters to be delivered to homes on the round. Mr Leach, aged 37, said the man was of Afro-Caribbean appearance, wearing white shorts and a red, sleeveless, fleece-style jacket, and just said, "All right lads", before taking the mailbag.
The butcher, who said the shop had been used as a drop-off point for more than 20 years, thought the man was an agency worker.
He said: "Over the past couple of years we've had lots of agency workers so just thought this was another one - at the time it never occurred that anything was wrong.
"The bag is left near the front of the shop. We were serving customers, and he just came in, bold as brass, and walked out with it."
A Royal Mail spokesman said it took the theft "very seriously" and would be investigating it thoroughly.
The spokesman said: "We do have a stringent system of identification that we require when making collections but something has clearly gone wrong with this one."
This is a major problem say police POLICE have said that the theft of mail is a major problem in the city, with personal financial items like cheque and bank cards being the main target.
In June police launched an operation to combat an outbreak of postal thefts after the force received 378 reports of theft of items of post in the first six months of 2005.
Last week the Evening Telegraph reported how a former Royal Mail worker masqueraded as a postman to steal bags of post awaiting delivery. And last Wednesday undelivered post was found in a service road at the back of the Oggy Oggy Pasty Company's Hertford Street shop.
D28351_1 . STUNNED... Manager Tony Leach who saw a man walk off with the mailbag from his Earlsdon butchers' shop without realising that he was a bogus postman. Picture: Mark Radford