ROYAL Mail bosses in Chippenham says postal deliveries are "improving" following a concerted effort to reduce a backlog.

Mail delivery has been delayed by up to three weeks because up to 50 per cent of the staff at the centre are on sick leave or have left, or are self-isolating after being 'pinged' by Covid test and trace apps.

Residents in Amesbury and Royal Wootton Bassett have also commented about postal deliveries being late.

Bosses say they have managed cut the backlog of undelivered mail despite acute staff shortages.

Acknowledging the staffing and backlog issues, a Royal Mail spokesperson said: “The vast majority of mail is delivered safely and on time. We aim to deliver to all addresses we have mail for, six days a week.

“In the local area, we are experiencing some delays to service due to high levels of sickness absence, Covid-related self-isolation and resourcing issues.

“We apologise to any customers who may have experienced delays to their mail. We have been working hard to get our levels of service back to normal as soon as possible and the situation is improving.

“Anyone who has concerns over the delivery of their mail should contact the Royal Mail customer service team on 03457 740 740 or via”

The combination of the three factors led to a backlog of undelivered mail of up to three weeks at the Chippenham delivery office on the Bumpers Farm industrial estate.

Some residents were left fuming waiting for letters, cards and presents sent before Christmas to arrive.

Complaints began to rise after people noticed that birthday and Christmas cards, letters and parcels sent weeks ago had not turned up.

The town’s Royal Mail offices at Bumpers Way are allegedly short of around 20 staff due to Covid-19 pandemic sickness and managers’ inability to immediately replace staff who have left.

One customer said: “Still waiting for my birthday cards. Should have been here on 17 December.

“My cousin went to sorting office on Bumpers Farm and asked for his mail as he is waiting for important documents, then overdue, and received a large handful.”

Another commented: "They are extremely short staffed because of Covid in the sorting office and on the rounds so deliveries are very patchy."

One said: "I had four cards postmarked 21/12/21 arrive yesterday - the first delivery we have had since 23/12. I think we are all experiencing the same issues."

Another said: "Finally got some mail yesterday, that was posted three weeks ago. Still expecting some from last year!"

Some customers were more understanding.

One woman said: “They are doing the best they can under the circumstances. They are taking it in turns and do parcels one day, post the next, as they have such a backlog of work.”