People in and around Swindon have been left without any post after Royal Mail delivery offices have been hit with ongoing ‘local issues’. 

The postal company is experiencing distribution problems affecting the whole country, with West Swindon (SN5) and Royal Wootton Bassett (SN4 and SN16) among 77 delivery offices struggling to deliver people’s mail.

Covid-related self isolation, high levels of sick absences, resourcing and other factors have been listed as reasons behind the problems on the Royal Mail website. 

The Royal Mail is not unique in facing staffing issues during this difficult period of time, with Swindon Borough Council having to reduce recycling collections last year and Great Western Hospital having to declare a critical incident just last week after seeing almost 400 staff self-isolating or sick.

And the problems are causing issues for residents across the town, with vital correspondence left weeks before being delivered.

Grieving Steve Elliott  been left waiting for the death certificate for his late wife Christine, who died on December 17. 

“The hold up has been a royal pain and still no certificate yet,” he said. 

“The registrar did everything over the phone, I paid for three copies on Christmas eve in the morning and still nothing.”

Some people have said that they’ve been able to physically go to the office and pick up their mail in person, but for the 63-year-old from Toothill this isn’t an option. 

“I am disabled as well and find it difficult to shop, let alone collect mail,” he said.

Steve also says he was unaware there was a problem with mail in the area, and it wasn’t until he posted online to ask if anyone else was having an issue that he became aware of the widespread issues.

Clive Foley, 49, from Toothill ordered rare and irreplaceable vinyl records before Christmas but the length of time it took to arrive left some damaged and warped.

“I guess the post office don’t store records stood up. And I expect it’s been left in a bag with load of other parcels on it and exposed to massive temperature change which all aren’t good for vinyl,” he said.

“And I’m still waiting for two more. Both of which can’t be replaced if damaged.”

He did stress that the postal service is usually great for delivering his records. 

Margaret Luker told The Adver that she had received nothing to her Shaw address since before Christmas and went to collect it herself.

“I haven’t had any mail since before Christmas so I’ve been to our local post office this morning with ID and I was given my post which included birthday cards for me and my husband. 

“I was told by a very helpful post lady that they are struggling with a 50% staff shortage due to sickness, and she couldn’t say when things would get back to normal.”

Despite the delays, residents have been sympathetic with the company and full of praise for the “hard-working postmen and women”. 

In a statement on their service update page, Royal Mail said: “Deliveries are operating as normal across most of the country today.

“We aim to deliver to all addresses we have mail for, six days a week. 

“In a small number of local offices this may temporarily not be possible due to local issues such as COVID-related self isolation, high levels of sick absence, resourcing, or other local factors.

"In those cases we will rotate deliveries to minimise the delay to individual customers. 

“We also provide targeted support to those offices to address their challenges and restore our service to the high standard our customers would normally receive.”

The Government sold the last of its shares in the formerly state-owned company, which employs 160,000 people in 2013.