The Chronicle has received reports that the postal service in Earley and Woodley is running drastically behind schedule.

Residents are receiving letters weeks after expected, resulting in missed parking fines, hospital appointments, and parcels.

Earley resident Mrs Lisa Palmer, 51, spoke to The Chronicle about the issue. “I spoke to my postman three weeks ago and he said there are letters piling up at the post office. He said they don’t care about the letters, just the parcels.”

She continued: “I got a parking ticket that was so late it went past the £60 payment and now I have to pay £100. I also missed a breast mammogram because I didn’t get the appointment letter. It’s a joke!”

Mrs Palmer also didn’t receive acknowledgment of a disability assessment that was due at the beginning of the month until the final week of September. “This caused me a lot of anxiety,” she said.

Other residents have also expressed their complaints via Facebook. Stuart Marcham said “The Royal Mail has gone to pot. The trouble is they have downsized over the last 25yrs.”

Claire Dean, whose husband works for Royal Mail, said: “There are a lot of vacancies at Royal Mail. The posties are doing their best in extremely difficult circumstances. My husband does a 6-day week as he must catch up.”

Mrs Palmer’s postman, who works from the Sutton Business Park Depot, reportedly told her to encourage residents to complain so action is taken. Many have reported only receiving letters once every two weeks.

The Chronicle also spoke to Elizabeth Downing, a solicitor from Woodley, who has also been experiencing “awful issues” with the postal service. “I’m disabled and a first-time mum and they just don’t seem to care.”

“In July I didn't get my birthday cards for 3 weeks. I’ve had doctors' letters that never arrived, 1st class takes two weeks, it’s just awful!”

Mrs Downing has also not received an important parcel that has been stuck in transit since June 10 because she never received a customs card. This was a birthday present for her new baby, who she considers “a miracle” after being given a 5% chance with IVF.

A spokesperson for the Royal Mail has said that the delays are due to vacancies, but that the service will be improving as they increase their recruitment.

They said: “We are committed to restoring our quality of service to our customers. We have plans in place and dedicated teams responsible for improving deliveries in Woodley and Earley.”