A FIVE-YEAR-OLD boy was reduced to tears after Royal Mail workers refused to hand over a parcel sent to him from Afghanistan by his serviceman dad.
The scene was witnessed by mum-of-two Sally Bufton, who was queuing in the delivery office in Slindon Street, Portsmouth when staff said the boy couldn’t have the parcel.
The mother was told to produce identification with the child’s name on it in order to claim the package.
Sally, 36, said: ‘I was queuing behind a boy aged five and his mother who were in a state of extreme distress.
‘The child had been sent a birthday present by his father, who is serving on the front line in Afghanistan.
‘The mother had ID, but none for the child, so staff refused to hand over the parcel.
‘They said the policy means the addressee needs to provide identification, regardless of their age. The little boy was so distraught he was crying.’
Sally, a legal worker, was hit by the same problem when she tried to pick up birthday presents addressed to her son Luke, nine.
Two DVDs were sent by her husband Alistair, 36, who works in the Royal Navy and is currently based at Whale Island.
Sally said: ‘I went to the office alone and was told my son would need to come in to collect his parcel with his own ID. It’s really frustrating. I don’t understand why they need to see ID for children.
‘The policy is ridiculous. Children get excited when they get a parcel in general, but for kids whose parents are away, it’s like a lifeline.’
Royal Mail said the policy applied to parcels sent by special delivery.
A spokesman added: ‘A card is left explaining how to arrange a re-delivery or where to collect the item.
‘This card also includes details of the addressee’s identification, which is required to collect the item in person. This is regardless of their age and is done in the interests of security, which is of paramount importance.
‘We apologise if the customer was inconvenienced when they tried to collect the item without sufficient identification.’
Royal Mail said people under 18 can provide their birth certificate, National Insurance card, medical card or savings book, as ID.
Veteran Chris Purcell, 52, of Fratton, who has served in the Royal Navy for 20 years, said: ‘Asking identification for someone that young is silly. It’s really important people away and people at home to get mail as it’s a real morale boost.’