HC Deb 03 July 1940 vol 362 c821
21. Sir George Broadbridge

asked the Postmaster-General what steps have been taken to detect and stop the serious pilfering of letters that is taking place all over the London area, involving not only great inconvenience but the loss of considerable sums of money?

The Postmaster-General (Mr. W. S. Morrison)

I fully recognise the inconvenience occasioned by losses in the post. Such losses are kept constantly under notice by the investigation branch of the Post Office and the police officers attached thereto. Every effort is made to detect offenders, and several, including some postal servants in the London area, have been prosecuted since the beginning of the year. Actually the complaints of losses in the London postal area are less this year than for the corresponding period last year.

Sir G. Broadbridge

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of the greatest sufferers by these post office thefts are persons of small means whose hire-purchase payments and similar payments have been stolen; and is he also aware that up to date one society has lost £1,500 and 190 letters?

Mr. Morrison

It is not always correct to assume that when a letter is lost it is lost in the post. It may be lost at either one end or the other. The difficulty of detecting offences of this character is rendered greater by the action of members of the public in putting Treasury notes into ordinary envelopes.

Mr. Cocks

Is the Postmaster-General aware that a member of His Majesty's Government has just received a letter which was posted 20 years ago?

Mr. Morrison

I am not aware of that.