Postman put parcel in South Walsham wheelie-bin

Jigsaw fanatic Janet Grantham waited expectantly for several weeks for her latest challenge to arrive by post.

But the retired teacher has now been left trying to piece together the puzzle of why the postman decided to leave her parcel in her rubbish bin –only for it to be emptied by refuse collectors.

Mrs Grantham, 74, of Panxworth Road, South Walsham, reflected on the fact that there was not even the small consolation that it had been disposed of correctly – because the recyclable cardboard puzzle had been placed in her waste bin.

The retired teacher had sent off to a national newspaper for the puzzle, a colourful scene of British birds, and knew it was on its way after ringing to check last week.

She said: 'I was away at the weekend and when I arrived home on Tuesday afternoon I found a note from the postman among my mail saying 'parcel in wheelie bin, thanks'.

'When I went to check the bin there was nothing in it as it had been emptied earlier that day.'

Stressing that it was not her normal postman who was 'very reliable', she questioned the need to put a parcel in the bin.

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'I have got neighbours on every side, all of whom would be happy to take in a parcel, or it could have been left at the village post office for me to pick up,' she said.

'I did not go away until 11am on Saturday and it must have been delivered that afternoon, although the postman got the date wrong on his note, implying it was on Friday.' Mrs Grantham, who used to teach at Thorpe House School for Girls, said she had handed in a letter of complaint to the sorting office in Acle and the woman on the counter had expressed amazement that any postman would leave a parcel in a bin. Still awaiting feedback from Royal Mail, Mrs Grantham said: 'It is all the more annoying because when I rang the newspaper about a replacement puzzle, I was told there were no more left.'

Mrs Grantham's disappointment is a virtual repeat of a case in Bungay three years ago when Caroline Norton lost a complete set of tapes for the cult political series The West Wing the same way – and was initially only offered a book of first class stamps by Royal Mail as an apology.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: 'We would like to apologise to Mrs Grantham for the correct delivery procedures not being carried out when an attempt was made to deliver her package.

'A 'Sorry, you were out' card should have been posted through the door informing her that the package had been returned to the local delivery office and listing various options available to her to retrieve it.

'Our staff are always reminded of the appropriate action to take if a customer is unavailable to accept a delivery.

'Our customer service team are looking into the incident.'

Wartime postcard took 94 years to arrive – see page 10.

Comment – page 14

stephen.pullinger@archant.co.uk