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Time to halt stamp machine 'scam'
VISITORS to a Lakeland town have lost ‘hundreds of pounds’ in a stamp ‘scam’, locals claim.
Residents and traders at Ambleside say people have lost out after putting pound coins in a faulty Royal Mail stamp machine.
The stamp dispenser, which is attached to a pillar box at Waterhead, has been out-of-order for years, residents and business owners say.
But there have been no signs to deter stamp-buyers – many of whom have continued to deposit £1 into the slot without receiving anything for their money.
Ambleside resident Peter Madge said: “It creates bad publicity for the area – tourists are being conned and we do not want them to be put off.”
But he also said there was more to the problem.
“Someone has a key so comes along and empties that box every so often – I guess there is about £175 in there each time and it’s been going on for years.
“Local traders have been taping it up but the tape is always removed when the box is emptied – it’s a complete fraud and we want to try to get rid of the box altogether, otherwise the problem will just continue.”
Brian Winter, the owner of nearby Cumbria Tops, said: “We have heard about the problem because we sell post cards – people buy them and when they can’t get stamps out of the machine, they come back to us.”
Police have been notified but have been unable to come up with a description of whoever is emptying the box or removing the tape put on by the shop keepers.
Royal Mail spokesman Morag Turnball said: “The box has been out of order for a number of years, but the Royal Mail does not have access to it.
“The delivery manager has taped up it up again and the job has now gone to our engineers to make sure the box is removed. “We hope to get it sorted as soon as possible.”