HC Deb 13 March 1923 vol 161 cc1325-6W

asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that various original deeds and other legal documents lodged at St. James's Street Post Office, Brighton, for transmission to Somerset House for stamping were stolen on the 19th December, 1922, owing to the fact that the van containing such documents was left in the public street unlocked and unattended; will he reconsider the question of granting compensation for the loss and expenditure incurred to those who have accepted the Post Office invitation to use this method of transmission and whose loss has been sustained entirely by the negligence of the postal service; and will he reconsider the requests made for the reopening of the local stamp office, in view of the risks incurred in sending valuable documents through the Post Office, and thereby enable the inhabitants to stamp their own deeds with less delay and more security?


I have seen the official reports concerning the robbery in question, and I find that compensation has been awarded to the senders of any registered packets stolen on the occasion in question who had paid the ordinary postage and registration fees. The consignors of the documents referred to by the hon. Member took advantage of the system specified in the Post Office Guide for the free transmission of such papers to London. They paid no postage or registration fees, and, moreover, signed an undertaking expressly acknowledging the Post Office and Inland Revenue authorities to be free from all risk of loss In connection with the transaction. I regret that compensation in such eases is not payable. The question of the reopening of the local stamp office is one for settlement by the Inland Revenue authorities, and not by the Post Office.