Posties' evening rounds to tackle parcel backlog

The Royal Mail's bid to rescue Christmas swung into action last night as evening deliveries were added to the duty rosta.

An extra 3,000 staff have been recruited around the UK to help deliver a backlog of parcels which has building up since Arctic conditions first swept across Britain in November.

Problems have been exacerbated in Leeds where posties have complained that new working practices, introduced under a 20m modernisation programme, made some rounds almost impossible to complete on time.

The delays led to criticism from customers who reported an erratic service in early November, with parcels languishing at depots while delivery teams struggled to keep up.

However, bosses are hoping the latest drive will help to beat the backlog in time for the weekend.

Royal Mail has already employed an extra 20,000 seasonal staff with 6,500 extra deliveries completed in the areas worst affected by the winter weather.

An additional 500 HGV drivers have also been employed to help get an extra 250 lorries on the road while another seven operational centres have been opened around the UK.

Evening deliveries, which began last night, will continue tonight, tomorrow and on Thursday, with an extra 25,000 extra rounds completed across the UK by Christmas Day.

"We have had post men and women on the streets for the last two Sundays in a row," said Royal Mail's managing director, Mark Higson. "We are committed to doing everything possible to deliver letters, cards and parcels on behalf of our customers."

Royal Mail says roads and airports blocked by snow have not helped to ease the congestion at its sorting offices.

In November, the YEP reported how one Moortown customer had received no mail for a fortnight while another waited two weeks for a camera to be delivered. Both of their area sorting offices confirmed significant problems in Leeds.

Fish dish at The Man Behind The Curtain.

Leeds eateries in foodies’ handbook