FOLLOWING reports last week that a Richmondshire village had not received any mail for seven days, Royal Mail has blamed Covid restrictions for the delay.

Residents of Gilling West were left without mail for a week during the recent snow and ice – but learned that more than half of the local postal workforce had been put on annual leave.

A Royal Mail Spokesperson said: “We are working hard to deliver as comprehensive a service as possible to all our customers in challenging circumstances. Despite our best endeavours, it is possible that some areas of the country may experience a reduction in service levels due to challenging weather conditions, higher volumes of mail during the lockdown, the ongoing impact of Covid-related staff absences and necessary social distancing measures at local mail centres and delivery offices.

“We have put in place a range of measures to protect customers and staff."

"We were the first UK company to put in place social-distancing measures in relation to parcel delivery. We pioneered contact-free delivery. We are temporarily not handing over our hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures. As well as encouraging good hand hygiene, standard ways of working have been revised to ensure that colleagues maintain appropriate social distancing at all times. All staff have been briefed about the social distancing measures jointly agreed by local management and the CWU. This has been supplemented with visible reminders such as posters and one-way floor markings.”