A Peterborough pensioner has said the postal service is anything but first class - after a letter addressed to a home on the other side of the world was put through his letterbox.
Roy Smith (87) of Glenton Street near Peterborough city centre was surprised to see a letter turn up on his mat addressed to Clifton Street in Perth, Australia.
While receiving mail to the wrong address is nothing new, the address the letter was meant to arrive at had almost nothing in common with Mr Smith’s address - with just the house number the same - with Australian addresses following a different format with postcodes Down Under being different to the ones here in the UK.
The envelope even had an air mail sticker on it, indicating it needed to travel overseas to reach its intended target.
The letter missed its final destination by about 8,999 miles - and several different time zones, having a postmark suggesting it had been through Gatwick
Roy, who believed the envelope could have contained a Christmas card, said: “I can’t believe it came to me. It would have been through at least five people’s hands before it got to my house.
“ The only thing on the envelope that is the same in my address as the Australian address is the house number.
It even says ‘Australia’ and ‘Air Mail’ on the letter.
It is very clear where it should have gone.
It is beyond a joke that something as simple as this could go this badly wrong.”
With help from colleagues at The Western Mail, an Australian newspaper based in Perth, The Peterborough Telegraph contacted the intended recipient of the letter.
The elderly gentleman asked not to be named, and said while he had lived in Perth for more than 30 years, he still had connections to the UK - but had no links to Peterborough at all.
He asked Mr Smith to open the letter and send a photo of the contents - but Mr Smith had already handed the letter back to the postman, in the hope the letter would wing its way to Australia as soon as possible. Mr Smith said he was keen to know what was in the envelope - and if and when it arrived in Perth.
A Royal Mail spokesman apologised for the error, and said: “We are concerned to learn of this misdelivery and would like to apologise to both customers.
“Cases like this are extremely rare but every letter is important to us and we do all we can to offer a first class service to our customers.
“If anyone does have concerns about their mail we would urge them to contact our customer services team on 03457 740 740 or via the website at royalmail.com with the full details of any specific incidents so that the complaint can be properly logged and investigated.”