Gang stealing pillar boxes to sell for scrap or to collectors

Hunt for gang targeting post boxes across Hampshire

Hunt for gang targeting post boxes across Hampshire

First published in News
Last updated

A HUNT has been launched for a gang of thieves targeting Hampshire post boxes, it has been revealed.

It comes after three have been stolen from sites across the New Forest in just the last month.

Thieves have targeted three post boxes in the New Forest, leaving residents forced to find alternative locations to post their mail while the Royal Mail organise their replacement.

The boxes, which cost about £1,000 each to replace, are either being stolen for their scrap value or for collectors.

Two of the post boxes were stolen within 24 hours, one in Vaggs Lane, Hordle and the other in Arnewood Bridge Road, Sway, between 5pm on April 22 and 5pm the next day.

The thefts were noticed when postal staff arrived at the locations to make their daily collection.

A third post box has also been reported stolen in Hightown Hill, near Ringwood, but it is still unclear when this one was targeted.

Officers are now working with the Royal Mail in a bid to track the boxes down and find those responsible – looking into the possibility that the three are linked.

The red post box in Vaggs Lane was a stand-alone box, which was stolen along with its rod and concrete base.

Mike Norman, a Royal Mail spokesman, said: “Royal Mail urges anyone with any information to contact the police.

“Royal Mail apologises to any of its customers who have been inconvenienced by these thefts. Customers are advised to use other post boxes in the area or drop their mail off at any Post Office branch.

“Boxes are cleared six days a week and we would advise anyone who has any concerns about their mail to contact our customer services team.”

Robert Cole, from the Letterbox Study Group, which keeps a database detailing the origins of more than 115,000 post boxes across Britain, said boxes were stolen to sell on to a collector or for scrap metal.

He said: “You would have to be very determined to steal a pillar box as they can sometimes be up to five feet below the ground.

“The ones stolen appear to be either from walls or lamp posts, which would probably fetch at least £200 each.

“Yes, they have a financial value, but to me they have infinitely more heritage value as a living part of a landscape, and the stories they tell have genuine value, in my mind.”

Anyone with information about the thefts should contact Hampshire police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you are worried about lost post, call Royal Mail’s customer service line on 08457 740 740.

Comments (19)

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8:11am Sat 10 May 14

Huey says...

Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes
Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes Huey
  • Score: -55

8:19am Sat 10 May 14

issacchunt says...

More likely scrap metal or sent to a collector in the states.
More likely scrap metal or sent to a collector in the states. issacchunt
  • Score: 17

8:52am Sat 10 May 14

userds5050 says...

Huey wrote:
Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes
D***
[quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes[/p][/quote]D*** userds5050
  • Score: 13

9:42am Sat 10 May 14

loonaloop says...

Huey wrote:
Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes
I had the pleasure of working for Royal Fail for a year or two and as most posties are good honest people I can say that theft if rife by a few wronguns at the sorting office thats for sure.
[quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes[/p][/quote]I had the pleasure of working for Royal Fail for a year or two and as most posties are good honest people I can say that theft if rife by a few wronguns at the sorting office thats for sure. loonaloop
  • Score: 9

9:58am Sat 10 May 14

userds5050 says...

loonaloop wrote:
Huey wrote:
Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes
I had the pleasure of working for Royal Fail for a year or two and as most posties are good honest people I can say that theft if rife by a few wronguns at the sorting office thats for sure.
No you didn't.
[quote][p][bold]loonaloop[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes[/p][/quote]I had the pleasure of working for Royal Fail for a year or two and as most posties are good honest people I can say that theft if rife by a few wronguns at the sorting office thats for sure.[/p][/quote]No you didn't. userds5050
  • Score: 2

10:09am Sat 10 May 14

good-gosh says...

Look for a prolific thief with an obsession for planning every job on the back of envelopes
Look for a prolific thief with an obsession for planning every job on the back of envelopes good-gosh
  • Score: -20

12:04pm Sat 10 May 14

Turtlebay says...

Or is it an inside job?

The service has been privatised now and they don't want to have to go to out of the way places to collect letters!
Or is it an inside job? The service has been privatised now and they don't want to have to go to out of the way places to collect letters! Turtlebay
  • Score: -1

12:16pm Sat 10 May 14

loonaloop says...

userds5050 wrote:
loonaloop wrote:
Huey wrote:
Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes
I had the pleasure of working for Royal Fail for a year or two and as most posties are good honest people I can say that theft if rife by a few wronguns at the sorting office thats for sure.
No you didn't.
I do Pal!!
[quote][p][bold]userds5050[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loonaloop[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes[/p][/quote]I had the pleasure of working for Royal Fail for a year or two and as most posties are good honest people I can say that theft if rife by a few wronguns at the sorting office thats for sure.[/p][/quote]No you didn't.[/p][/quote]I do Pal!! loonaloop
  • Score: 4

12:29pm Sat 10 May 14

Frank28 says...

There are still some very old post boxes in the New Forest area - some with 'VR' on the front. These will have to be fitted with security tracking devices if they are to remain in public use.
There are still some very old post boxes in the New Forest area - some with 'VR' on the front. These will have to be fitted with security tracking devices if they are to remain in public use. Frank28
  • Score: 4

1:31pm Sat 10 May 14

Huey says...

loonaloop wrote:
Huey wrote:
Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes
I had the pleasure of working for Royal Fail for a year or two and as most posties are good honest people I can say that theft if rife by a few wronguns at the sorting office thats for sure.
I saw that documentary on telly some time ago, where an undercover reporter got work in a sorting office.
The workers were all booting stuff around like footballs and nicking stuff it was the norm rather than the exception and even those not involved turned a blind eye.
Twice in recent years have I gone to collect a recorded delivery, signed each step of the way parcel, only to be told it had mysteriously gone missing from the office and I would need to claim the value back.
[quote][p][bold]loonaloop[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Probably a Royal Mail worker who has progressed from stealing letters to stealing post boxes[/p][/quote]I had the pleasure of working for Royal Fail for a year or two and as most posties are good honest people I can say that theft if rife by a few wronguns at the sorting office thats for sure.[/p][/quote]I saw that documentary on telly some time ago, where an undercover reporter got work in a sorting office. The workers were all booting stuff around like footballs and nicking stuff it was the norm rather than the exception and even those not involved turned a blind eye. Twice in recent years have I gone to collect a recorded delivery, signed each step of the way parcel, only to be told it had mysteriously gone missing from the office and I would need to claim the value back. Huey
  • Score: -23

1:35pm Sat 10 May 14

*ay*carumba* says...

So it is not known when the box in Hightown Hill, Ringwood was stolen. It sounds like the post was not collected regularly from this box, is this evidence of Royal Mail neglecting their customers?
So it is not known when the box in Hightown Hill, Ringwood was stolen. It sounds like the post was not collected regularly from this box, is this evidence of Royal Mail neglecting their customers? *ay*carumba*
  • Score: 1

3:19pm Sat 10 May 14

vpharm says...

Report thefts to police? I reported thefts of MY property to police & was told it is a civil matter ie someone walked onto my land & stole my wood, security camera & sensors & feckless idiots called hampshire police could not careless!
Report thefts to police? I reported thefts of MY property to police & was told it is a civil matter ie someone walked onto my land & stole my wood, security camera & sensors & feckless idiots called hampshire police could not careless! vpharm
  • Score: 6

3:46pm Sat 10 May 14

Highfielder says...

issacchunt wrote:
More likely scrap metal or sent to a collector in the states.
I think it unlikely (but obviously not impossible) that these letterboxes have been stolen for collectors in the USA. As someone with some experience of shipping goods to and from the USA via Southampton, I can say it is a well documented process involving legal declarations, documentation to show who owns the items and who will be receiving them and where and contact details, as well as needing Customs clearance both ends.
Since a full-size letter box would be shipped by sea it would also be likely to be inspected by a US Customs official while on the voyage. Presumably the Royal Mail and the police will have alerted Customs to the possibility of stolen letterboxes.
In the past thieves have stolen milestones which have no metal value but are a wonderful and ancient part of our heritage and these I am sure have been stolen for either collectors or to look 'nice' on someone's property.
[quote][p][bold]issacchunt[/bold] wrote: More likely scrap metal or sent to a collector in the states.[/p][/quote]I think it unlikely (but obviously not impossible) that these letterboxes have been stolen for collectors in the USA. As someone with some experience of shipping goods to and from the USA via Southampton, I can say it is a well documented process involving legal declarations, documentation to show who owns the items and who will be receiving them and where and contact details, as well as needing Customs clearance both ends. Since a full-size letter box would be shipped by sea it would also be likely to be inspected by a US Customs official while on the voyage. Presumably the Royal Mail and the police will have alerted Customs to the possibility of stolen letterboxes. In the past thieves have stolen milestones which have no metal value but are a wonderful and ancient part of our heritage and these I am sure have been stolen for either collectors or to look 'nice' on someone's property. Highfielder
  • Score: 7

7:11pm Sat 10 May 14

issacchunt says...

Wait until Pat finds out..........
Wait until Pat finds out.......... issacchunt
  • Score: 2

8:20pm Sat 10 May 14

Stubs says...

I think that black and white black knows something.
I think that black and white black knows something. Stubs
  • Score: -1

8:20pm Sat 10 May 14

Positively4thStreet says...

The weird thing is,if you move to a different area,it's not possible to find an official location finder for any post boxes,which are near you,but only on a site unofficially cobbled together by someone so frustrated that you can't obtain the information officially( its secret,for some inexplicable reason),that they created their own information site.
The weird thing is,if you move to a different area,it's not possible to find an official location finder for any post boxes,which are near you,but only on a site unofficially cobbled together by someone so frustrated that you can't obtain the information officially( its secret,for some inexplicable reason),that they created their own information site. Positively4thStreet
  • Score: 3

8:20pm Sat 10 May 14

Stubs says...

I think that black and white black knows something.
I think that black and white black knows something. Stubs
  • Score: -1

8:46pm Sat 10 May 14

Graeme Harrison says...

Stubs wrote:
I think that black and white black knows something.
We heard you the first time.
[quote][p][bold]Stubs[/bold] wrote: I think that black and white black knows something.[/p][/quote]We heard you the first time. Graeme Harrison
  • Score: 1

12:07pm Sun 11 May 14

Zexagon says...

Graeme Harrison wrote:
Stubs wrote:
I think that black and white black knows something.
We heard you the first time.
Didn't understand it the first time either
[quote][p][bold]Graeme Harrison[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Stubs[/bold] wrote: I think that black and white black knows something.[/p][/quote]We heard you the first time.[/p][/quote]Didn't understand it the first time either Zexagon
  • Score: 0

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