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Plea to throw away child chain letters.

Byline: By Andrew Hirst

The Royal Mail has urged parents to stop a lying chain letter aimed at children by throwing it in the bin.

The letter - circulating in Huddersfield - is supposed to have started in 1996 and says that if it is not broken by spring this year it will be published in the Guinness Book of World Records, along with the names of the children who took part.

Postal staff say the letter has been around for years, with up to 500 now being received by children in the Huddersfield, Halifax and Bradford areas or being sent by them each day.

In a new bid to break the chain, the Royal Mail in Bradford three weeks ago started intercepting the letters and popping them in an envelope, along with a warning letter, before sending them on.

But all they really want is everyone who receives one of the chain mail letters to bin it.

If everyone did that, the chain would be broken.

The chain mail letter states: "Nobody has broken the chain so far. Please don't be the one to stop it. All you have to do is to write or type this letter and send it by post. The reason why the Post Office is monitoring is to see who broke the chain.

"Don't worry, it's free. You just have to write Guinness Book Of Records for Children in the stamp place. You have four days to write seven letters to anyone under the age of 16."

The address is on the envelope, which makes it easy for Royal Mail employees to spot. They then send it on with their own letter, urging people to break the chain.

The letter from revenue protection manager Brian Fleetwood states:

"From what is written on the envelope, it looks like you have been told we should be able to deliver this letter without a stamp because The Post Office is monitoring Guinness Book of World Records chain letters in order to set a world record.

"I am sorry to be giving you bad news, but I have to tell you that none of this is true.

"Neither the Royal Mail nor Guinness Book of World Records are involved in running or supporting chain letters. It's something we just would not do."

The letter adds: "We don't know where the idea started that we are doing something like this. As far as we know there is not even a world record for chain letters.

"Maybe someone started it as a joke. We just don't know.

"I hope this will not be too much of a disappointment."
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 20, 2004
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