Furious elderly fear ‘ludicrous’ Royal Mail plan will make them vulnerable to crooks

A group of elderly residents say they are being “held to ransom” by the Royal Mail over a “ludicrous” plan which could leave them vulnerable to burglars over the festive period.

Three blocks of flats in Poplar Way, Barkingside have been asked to extend the hours in which their secure entry system is left open so that their mail can be delivered later in the day.

Barbara Vigon, chairman of the residents association, said: “Eighty per cent of the residents are elderly or disabled, with the majority being females who live alone. Unfortunately when the flats were built, no letter box was installed.

“Now the post office are asking us to change our security service timer which has proved extremely effective against burglars.”

Ilford Post Office has asked residents to allow their entry system to remain open for two hours longer so that post can be delivered over the Christmas period.

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Mrs Vigon said: “I feel like we are being held to ransom. What’s the point in having a secure system if it’s just going to be open, and is against the advice of the police? It’s ludicrous.

“If we do not make the change, the post office have told us they won’t be responsible for us getting our post.

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“This is the first time this has happened in 22 years and now there is less post than ever.”

PCSO Darren Jenkins, of Aldborough’s safer neighbourhood team, said: “I think the system should be kept the same: it has worked all this time and why is this Christmas any different from any other?

“The security system makes people feel safer and if those doors are left open any longer, it gives a bigger window of opportunity for a burglary to take place and anyone can get in.”

Treasurer of the residents’ association, Sandra Field, added: “My main concern is burglary. We are coming up to Christmas now which is the best time for them to target us.

“The post office don’t seem to want to do their job properly.”

Royal Mail spokesman, Valerie Antoine, said: “At this busy time of year we have asked some customers in Barkingside who have time locks at their premises to extend their release time, in order for us to make deliveries to our customers first time.

“We understand that some customers are concerned by this, therefore we will be liaising with representatives on how best to resolve this situation.”

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