Canadian inventor’s lock aims to beat doorstep parcel thieves


Is this the end of ‘porch pirates’? Tiny lock uses aircraft-grade steel cable to stop packages from being stolen

  • One in five Americans are thought to have fallen victim to ‘porch pirates’, with $25million worth of parcels going missing every day 
  • After falling victim, Canadian entrepreneur Dennis Evans invented a solution 
  • Parcels are locked inside an adjustable cable made of aircraft-grade steel 
  • Only way to release the cable is using a key, held by the homeowner 

Online shopping has revolutionized the way the world shops – but it has also given rise to so-called ‘porch pirates’ who steal deliveries right off people’s doorsteps. 

After Canadian inventor Dennis Evans was struck by pirates himself, he vowed to come up with a solution – and created a device called Snare.

One in five Americans are thought to have fallen victim to ‘porch pirates’, with 1.7million parcels going missing across the US every day.

Snare security system stops parcels from being stolen from doorsteps using an aircraft-grade steel cable which wraps around the package

The system is designed to stop opportunistic thieves from taking packages by making them much more difficult to steal (file image)

The system is designed to stop opportunistic thieves from taking packages by making them much more difficult to steal (file image)

The system works by wrapping parcels in a loop made from aircraft-grade steel cable which is pulled tight, meaning the package cannot be taken by passersby.

The cable runs through through a lock which fixes on to the outside of a house using a specially designed bracket.

Whenever the homeowner is expecting a delivery, they take the lock outside and fix it on to the bracket, before locking it in place.

Evans has spent four years developing Snare, and is now raising money for the project on Kickstarter

Evans has spent four years developing Snare, and is now raising money for the project on Kickstarter

After a package has been put inside the cable tightened, the only way to loosen it is by unlocking the box using the key.

The bracket has been designed to fit to brick, wood paneling or metal railings with screws, making it difficult to remove.

The cable itself is made from aircraft steel, meaning it is difficult to cut through – but flexible enough to fit all kinds of packages.

Evans admits that Snare, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is not totally secure – but said that is not the point.

Because porch pirates are opportunistic – striking because the parcels are an easy target – his aim was not to make stealing the parcel impossible, only to make it difficult enough that the crooks either give up or don’t bother in the first place.

He said: ‘I started Snare because I wanted to solve a problem I had personally experienced – my online orders were getting stolen right off my front porch!

Evans said the project evolved three times after input from his wife, but is now patented and will be available from November this year

Evans said the project evolved three times after input from his wife, but is now patented and will be available from November this year

‘Every community site in my neighbourhood was posting videos of porch pirates stealing their parcels.’ 

While cameras might help to catch thieves, Evans noticed that they weren’t stopping them from taking the packages.

Over the course of four years – and with plenty of input from his wife – he developed a lock which he says makes taking packages much more difficult, if not impossible.

Snare will cost $100 when it is finished, but is available for an early bird price of $69 if you pledge through Kickstarter.



Postman helps teacher decide front door colour via note


Teacher torn over what colour to paint her front door is given a helping hand from her postman – and social media users praise the Royal Mail worker for their ‘great taste’

  • Elizabeth Pocklington, from Nottingham, was struggling to pick a colour for door
  • Painted various swatches on the front door – which were spotted by the postie
  • Female postwoman popped a note through her door offering her opinion
  • Note was shared on social media where many users praised her ‘good taste’ 

A Royal Mail postie has been praised on social media after leaving a note offering decorating advice through the letterbox of someone planning to repaint their front door.

Elizabeth Pocklington, a science teacher from Nottingham, was struggling to choose a colour to replace the black and had painted several swatches ranging from cream to green.

Having deduced the owners of the home were torn, the postal worker popped a sweet handwritten note, penned on a ‘Sorry you were out’ card, through their door with a suggestion.

They wrote: ‘Second green up from the bottom of door looks the best,’ followed by a smiley face.

Elizabeth Pocklington, a teacher from Nottingham, was struggling to choose a colour and had painted several swatches ranging from cream to green

Elizabeth shared a photo of the note and her multicoloured door on Twitter on Tuesday, writing: ‘We were struggling to choose a front door colour… thank you to the postie for helping us out,’ followed by rolling on the floor laughing emojis. 

Her tweet went viral, notching up 3,200 retweeted and 81,600 likes – with many people praising the postman’s ‘good taste’. 

Many people urged Elizabeth to take their advice, with one joking: ‘You have to pick the one the postie chose or else they will see for all eternity that you didn’t go with their choice and that would be kinda awkward.’

Another branded the person behind the note the ‘best postie ever’, adding: ‘I prefer the darker sage green at the top! Not that it is anyone’s choice other than yours.’ 

Having deduced the owners of the home were torn, the postal worker popped a sweet handwritten note, penned on a 'Sorry you were out' card, through their door with a suggestion

Having deduced the owners of the home were torn, the postal worker popped a sweet handwritten note, penned on a ‘Sorry you were out’ card, through their door with a suggestion

Royal Mail later shared a photo of the door and note on its official Facebook page, captioning the post: ‘When you are struggling to choose a colour for your front door… your local postie will help you out!’  

The post evoked more than 10,000 reactions and 541 comments – with several joking it must have been a female postman – and they were right. 

One Facebook user claimed: ‘The postie deffo picked the right shade!’ while one quipped: ‘I knew it would be a woman.’

The post evoked more than 10,000 reactions and 541 comments - with several joking it must have been a female postman - and they were right

The post evoked more than 10,000 reactions and 541 comments – with several joking it must have been a female postman – and they were right

Another wrote: ‘Haha that’s fab! Well they obviously have seen a few doors in their time, I’d do it that colour and leave a big bar of Dairy Milk out for their great advice.’ 

‘Love this, I bet the postie had a little smile as they posted it,’ enthused another. 

Elizabeth followed up her tweet, admitting in the end she had gone against the postie’s advice and had ordered ‘the middle one’. 

She did, however, admit that the sweet moment had ‘made her day’. 

Royal Mail announces 2,000 job cuts as group battles to slash costs


Royal Mail today revealed it is cutting 2,000 jobs as it announced a management overhaul to help slash costs in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

The postal service said the restructuring plans will see it save £130million in staffing costs next year as it reported a 31 per cent fall in annual profits. 

Royal Mail is also cutting £300million in spending over the next two years. It has 9,700 managers, with senior executive and non-operational roles to be hardest hit. 

It comes six weeks after the group’s chief executive Rico Back quit following two years in charge and major battles with unions over a £1.8billion restructuring plan.

A Royal Mail postman empties a postbox in Glasgow during the coronavirus crisis on April 1

Royal Mail is one of a raft of companies in the UK to announce hefty job losses due to the pandemic, including British Gas owner Centrica and easyJet and British Airways.

Keith Williams, interim executive chairman at Royal Mail Group, said the firm is taking ‘immediate action’ on costs to offset the Covid-19 impact.

Rico Back leaves the job at Royal Mail after agreeing his departure with the board

He said: ‘In recent years, our UK business has not adapted quickly enough to the changes in our marketplace of more parcels and fewer letters.

‘Covid-19 has accelerated those trends, presenting additional challenges.’

On the job cuts, Mr Williams said: ‘We are committed to conducting the upcoming consultation process carefully and sensitively.

‘We will work closely with our managers and their representatives during this difficult period.’

In May, German businessman Mr Back agreed with the board to step down with immediate effect and will leave the company on August 15.

Hamburg-born Mr Back founded and ran the company’s German arm GLS for almost three decades before taking over as group chief in 2018.

But Mr Back – dubbed ‘the Flying Postman’ because he commutes to Britain from Switzerland – attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his £2.3million home overlooking Lake Zurich during the crisis, having left the UK after the lockdown. 

Mr Back attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his £2.3million home in this apartment block overlooking Lake Zurich during the crisis, having left the UK after the lockdown

Mr Back attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his £2.3million home in this apartment block overlooking Lake Zurich during the crisis, having left the UK after the lockdown

Mr Back will be replaced by a duo of Keith Williams, who becomes interim executive chairman, and Stuart Simpson, who will be the temporary chief executive.

Rico Back: Career of the £647,000-a-year flying postman 

Rico Back, 66, founded and ran Royal Mail’s German arm GLS for almost three decades before taking over as group chief in 2018.

He was appointed the first managing director of German Parcel in 1989, before establishing the European-wide firm General Parcel in 1992.

Seven years later he led the sale of this to Royal Mail, and by 2002 a uniform brand called General Logistics Systems (GLS), was established.

The Hamburg-born businessman became known as ‘the Flying Postman’ because he normally commutes to Britain from Switzerland each week.

The married father-of-four used to spend his weekends at a luxurious £2.3million home overlooking Lake Zurich, before returning to Britain to work during the week.

But when he flies to the UK he covers the costs himself, including those of his London accommodation.

He took over as group boss from Dame Moya Greene in 2018, receiving £6million for changes to his contract. He was paid £647,000 last year but can earn up to £2.7million. 

Mr Back had promised a £1.8billion pound programme last year to transform Royal Mail into a sustainable, profitable operation by 2024.

But that turnaround plan was delayed by labour unrest and the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis. 

The company also said in May that costs rose by £40million, driven by overtime and agency resource costs due to coronavirus-related outlays. 

Critics had said Mr Back, dubbed ‘the Flying Postman’ because he commutes to Britain, was too far away to effectively run Royal Mail and called for him to resign.

Mr Back has been working from his £2.3million family home, a luxury penthouse overlooking Lake Zurich.

The father-of-four, who took over as Royal Mail boss two years ago, usually travels by air to the UK for the working week and returns to the property during weekends.

But after the postal service’s London office was shut on March 24, it is understood Mr Back returned to Switzerland and has remained there.

He took over as group boss from Dame Moya Greene in 2018, receiving £6million for changes to his contract. He was paid £647,000 last year but can earn up to £2.7million.

Dame Moya oversaw the privatisation of Royal Mail in 2013 and also settled a long-running dispute on pay, pensions and a shorter working week for employees. 

Royal Mail revealed earlier in the crisis that revenue from UK parcels, international and letters dropped by £22million in April, compared to the same month last year. 

In April, the postal service said it had halted all Saturday letter deliveries until further notice as it continues to suffer from staff shortages. 

Letters that have to be signed for as well as tracked items and those sent by special delivery are still being delivered on Saturdays.

The service restriction came after union leaders encouraged postmen to call in sick rather than risk catching the virus on their rounds.

Royal Mail workers have been designated as key workers to keep deliveries going during the pandemic.

In March, the Communication Worker’s Union lobbied for deliveries to be cut back to just three days a week with homes receiving post every other day – but the plan was not implemented. 

How the Romans changed our culture is recorded in latest Royal Mail collection 


Leaving their stamp on the UK: How the Romans impacted British culture is recorded in latest Royal Mail collection

  • A series of stamps celebrating Romans in Britain were launched by Royal Mail 
  • The collection of eight stamp designs show Roman artefacts and architecture
  • Dover Lighthouse, Bignor mosaic and Hadrian’s Wall are among locations used 

Royal Mail has launched a collection of eight new picture stamps to celebrate the Romans in Britain, including famous landmarks such as Hadrian’s Wall and Dover Lighthouse.

Eight stamp designs showing Roman artefacts and architecture across the country will be available on general sale from next Thursday.

The stamps also show Bignor mosaic, Caerleon Amphitheatre, Ribchester helmet, Bridgeness distance slab, a Warrior god in Cambridgeshire and Gorgon’s head in Bath.

Royal Mail released eight new stamps celebrating Roman legacy in Britain with Hadrian’s Wall

Caerleon Amphitheatre is also among the famous locations chosen for the celebration

Caerleon Amphitheatre is also among the famous locations chosen for the celebration

Royal Mail worked with the British Museum to design the stamps, and the full set of eight can be purchased for £10.35.

For almost 400 years, from 43 to 410 AD, much of mainland Britain was a province of the Roman empire.

This period helped mould British laws, language, art, architecture, culture and beliefs, and the Roman army established early road networks which facilitated the first public post system. 

Bridgeness distance slab, a key piece of history, is also among the new collection of stamps

Bridgeness distance slab, a key piece of history, is also among the new collection of stamps

The new series hopes to illustrate the lasting impact the Romans had on life in Britain

The new series hopes to illustrate the lasting impact the Romans had on life in Britain

 

Royal Mail spokesperson Philip Parker said: ‘What did the Romans do for us?

‘They gave us important new towns, a network of roads to link them, vast building works in stone, a new language and our calendar – they even named the country, ‘Britain’.

‘These new stamps feature some of the most complete and striking Roman sites and objects which show their character and sophistication.’

Dover Lighthouse remains to this day the UK's tallest standing Roman building

Dover Lighthouse remains to this day the UK’s tallest standing Roman building

The Royal Mail's stamp programme commemorates parts of the UK's history and culture

 The Royal Mail’s stamp programme commemorates parts of the UK’s history and culture

The Weston Curator of Roman Britain and the British Museum Richard Hobbs said he hopes the eight sites and objects will ‘give a taste of life in Roman Britain’ and encourage people to explore the period.

Mr Hobbs said: ‘The Ribchester helmet is not only one of the British Museum’s iconic items, but also one of our earliest acquisitions – it’s been in the national collection since 1796, when a hoard of Roman military equipment was discovered in Ribchester, Lancashire.

‘The helmet, decorated with a scene of a battle between infantry and cavalry, was the most spectacular piece.’

There are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gift givers in the UK

There are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gift givers in the UK

Another ancient artefact, Gorgon's head in Bath, is sited at the spring sacred to Sulis Minerva

Another ancient artefact, Gorgon’s head in Bath, is sited at the spring sacred to Sulis Minerva

For more than 50 years, Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated anniversaries and celebrated events relevant to UK heritage and life.

Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gift givers in the UK and millions worldwide.

How the Romans changed our culture is recorded in latest Royal Mail collection 


Leaving their stamp on the UK: How the Romans impacted British culture is recorded in latest Royal Mail collection

  • A series of stamps celebrating Romans in Britain were launched by Royal Mail 
  • The collection of eight stamp designs show Roman artefacts and architecture
  • Dover Lighthouse, Bignor mosaic and Hadrian’s Wall are among locations used 

Royal Mail has launched a collection of eight new picture stamps to celebrate the Romans in Britain, including famous landmarks such as Hadrian’s Wall and Dover Lighthouse.

Eight stamp designs showing Roman artefacts and architecture across the country will be available on general sale from next Thursday.

The stamps also show Bignor mosaic, Caerleon Amphitheatre, Ribchester helmet, Bridgeness distance slab, a Warrior god in Cambridgeshire and Gorgon’s head in Bath.

Royal Mail released eight new stamps celebrating Roman legacy in Britain with Hadrian’s Wall

Caerleon Amphitheatre is also among the famous locations chosen for the celebration

Caerleon Amphitheatre is also among the famous locations chosen for the celebration

Royal Mail worked with the British Museum to design the stamps, and the full set of eight can be purchased for £10.35.

For almost 400 years, from 43 to 410 AD, much of mainland Britain was a province of the Roman empire.

This period helped mould British laws, language, art, architecture, culture and beliefs, and the Roman army established early road networks which facilitated the first public post system. 

Bridgeness distance slab, a key piece of history, is also among the new collection of stamps

Bridgeness distance slab, a key piece of history, is also among the new collection of stamps

The new series hopes to illustrate the lasting impact the Romans had on life in Britain

The new series hopes to illustrate the lasting impact the Romans had on life in Britain

 

Royal Mail spokesperson Philip Parker said: ‘What did the Romans do for us?

‘They gave us important new towns, a network of roads to link them, vast building works in stone, a new language and our calendar – they even named the country, ‘Britain’.

‘These new stamps feature some of the most complete and striking Roman sites and objects which show their character and sophistication.’

Dover Lighthouse remains to this day the UK's tallest standing Roman building

Dover Lighthouse remains to this day the UK’s tallest standing Roman building

The Royal Mail's stamp programme commemorates parts of the UK's history and culture

 The Royal Mail’s stamp programme commemorates parts of the UK’s history and culture

The Weston Curator of Roman Britain and the British Museum Richard Hobbs said he hopes the eight sites and objects will ‘give a taste of life in Roman Britain’ and encourage people to explore the period.

Mr Hobbs said: ‘The Ribchester helmet is not only one of the British Museum’s iconic items, but also one of our earliest acquisitions – it’s been in the national collection since 1796, when a hoard of Roman military equipment was discovered in Ribchester, Lancashire.

‘The helmet, decorated with a scene of a battle between infantry and cavalry, was the most spectacular piece.’

There are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gift givers in the UK

There are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gift givers in the UK

Another ancient artefact, Gorgon's head in Bath, is sited at the spring sacred to Sulis Minerva

Another ancient artefact, Gorgon’s head in Bath, is sited at the spring sacred to Sulis Minerva

For more than 50 years, Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated anniversaries and celebrated events relevant to UK heritage and life.

Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gift givers in the UK and millions worldwide.

Postman, 40, is killed on the job when his Royal Mail van rolls down steep bank 


Postman, 40, is killed on the job when his Royal Mail van rolls down steep bank

  • 40-year-old died on The Downs Road, Isle of Wight, on Saturday morning
  • Police were called at 7.38am after receiving reports of a single vehicle collision
  • Hampshire Police are appealing for more information or dashcam footage 

A 40-year-old postman has died on the Isle of Wight after his Royal Mail van rolled down a steep bank.

The man died on Saturday morning on The Downs Road on the Isle of Wight.

Police were called at 7.38am after reports of a single vehicle collision.

A 40-year-old postman has died on the Isle of Wight after his Royal Mail van rolled down a steep bank (file photo)

The man from Southampton was killed on the Downs Road on the Isle of Wight (pictured) on Saturday morning

The man from Southampton was killed on the Downs Road on the Isle of Wight (pictured) on Saturday morning

The man from Southampton died in the collision and officers said no other cars were involved.

Hampshire Police said: ‘We are investigating following a fatal collision on the Isle of Wight this morning (Saturday June 6).

‘The Royal Mail van had left the road and went down a steep embankment, just west of Newport Shute.

‘The occupant, a man aged 40, from Southampton, died as a result.

‘His next of kin have been informed and they are being supported by specialist officers.

‘Officers are investigating the exact circumstances of the collision and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision, or saw the vehicle driving in the area prior to it.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: 'We were deeply saddened to learn about this incident. Our thoughts are with our colleague's family and friends at this difficult time. We are currently helping police with their investigations'

A Royal Mail spokesman said: ‘We were deeply saddened to learn about this incident. Our thoughts are with our colleague’s family and friends at this difficult time. We are currently helping police with their investigations’

‘In addition, if you have dash cam footage of the vehicle and/or the collision please call us.’

The Downs Road was closed for more than eight hours following the police callout as officers investigated.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: ‘We were deeply saddened to learn about this incident.

‘Our thoughts are with our colleague’s family and friends at this difficult time. We are currently helping police with their investigations.’

They are now appealing for more information or anyone who may have dashcam footage of the incident to contact them on 101 and quite the incident number 159 with the date June 6.

Royal Mail BANS deliveries to street after a 52-year-old postwoman is SHOT in the face while on duty


Royal Mail BANS deliveries to problem street after a 52-year-old postwoman is SHOT in the face with an airgun while on duty

  • Bosses said all future deliveries to Spring Bank Rise in Keighley are suspended 
  • The postwoman was blasted in the face by a powerful airgun earlier this week
  • The 52-year-old was rushed to hospital to receive treatment for facial injuries
  • Police say they have since arrested two people believed to have been involved 

Royal Mail bosses have banned deliveries to a problem street in West Yorkshire after  after a postwoman was shot in the face on duty.

The 52-year-old was blasted by a sniper with a powerful airgun while delivering the post to Spring Bank Rise in Keighley, West Yorkshire, this week and was rushed to hospital with facial injuries.

Royal Mail bosses have taken the drastic action to suspend all future deliveries to the street amid concerns over workers’ safety, a move they described as a ‘last resort’.  

They urged customers to contact the police with any information that would assist with enquiries. 

Royal Mail bosses said they were suspending all future deliveries to Spring Bank Rise in Keighley (above) with ‘immediate effect’ 

Police have since arrested an 18-year-old man and youth believed to have been involved in the attack.

A Royal Mail spokesman said the company was ‘shocked and saddened to learn of this incident.

‘We are thankful that our colleague was not more seriously injured and wish her a speedy recovery.

‘We are now assisting the police with their enquiries. Royal Mail has a zero tolerance to any form of abuse against our staff.

‘As a result of this incident, all deliveries to Spring Bank Rise Keighley will be suspended with immediate effect.

Police said they had arrested two people believed to have been involved in the attack on a Royal Mail postwoman (file photo)

Police said they had arrested two people believed to have been involved in the attack on a Royal Mail postwoman (file photo) 

‘Suspending deliveries is a last resort. However our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people.

‘Customers who are unable to collect mail from their local delivery office will be offered alternative arrangements until we can safely resume deliveries.

‘We urge customers to contact the police with any information that might support their investigation’. 

A police spokesman said: ‘The 52 year old woman was taken to hospital for treatment and CCTV enquiries have been conducted in the local area.

‘Two males, an 18 year old and a juvenile, were subsequently arrested and enquiries remain ongoing.’

Royal Mail BANS deliveries to street after a 52-year-old postwoman is SHOT in the face while on duty


Royal Mail BANS deliveries to problem street after a 52-year-old postwoman is SHOT in the face with an airgun while on duty

  • Bosses said all future deliveries to Spring Bank Rise in Keighley are suspended 
  • The postwoman was blasted in the face by a powerful airgun earlier this week
  • The 52-year-old was rushed to hospital to receive treatment for facial injuries
  • Police say they have since arrested two people believed to have been involved 

Royal Mail bosses have banned deliveries to a problem street in West Yorkshire after  after a postwoman was shot in the face on duty.

The 52-year-old was blasted by a sniper with a powerful airgun while delivering the post to Spring Bank Rise in Keighley, West Yorkshire, this week and was rushed to hospital with facial injuries.

Royal Mail bosses have taken the drastic action to suspend all future deliveries to the street amid concerns over workers’ safety, a move they described as a ‘last resort’.  

They urged customers to contact the police with any information that would assist with enquiries. 

Royal Mail bosses said they were suspending all future deliveries to Spring Bank Rise in Keighley (above) with ‘immediate effect’ 

Police have since arrested an 18-year-old man and youth believed to have been involved in the attack.

A Royal Mail spokesman said the company was ‘shocked and saddened to learn of this incident.

‘We are thankful that our colleague was not more seriously injured and wish her a speedy recovery.

‘We are now assisting the police with their enquiries. Royal Mail has a zero tolerance to any form of abuse against our staff.

‘As a result of this incident, all deliveries to Spring Bank Rise Keighley will be suspended with immediate effect.

Police said they had arrested two people believed to have been involved in the attack on a Royal Mail postwoman (file photo)

Police said they had arrested two people believed to have been involved in the attack on a Royal Mail postwoman (file photo) 

‘Suspending deliveries is a last resort. However our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people.

‘Customers who are unable to collect mail from their local delivery office will be offered alternative arrangements until we can safely resume deliveries.

‘We urge customers to contact the police with any information that might support their investigation’. 

A police spokesman said: ‘The 52 year old woman was taken to hospital for treatment and CCTV enquiries have been conducted in the local area.

‘Two males, an 18 year old and a juvenile, were subsequently arrested and enquiries remain ongoing.’

Royal Mail’s German chief executive Rico Back steps down


Rico Back leaves the job at Royal Mail after agreeing his departure with the board

Royal Mail’s chief executive Rico Back quit today after two years in charge marked by battles with unions over efforts to restructure the postal service.

In a surprise departure, the 66-year-old German businessman has agreed with the board to step down with immediate effect and will leave the company on August 15.

Hamburg-born Mr Back founded and ran the company’s German arm GLS for almost three decades before taking over as group chief in 2018.

But Mr Back – dubbed ‘the Flying Postman’ because he commutes to Britain from Switzerland – attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his £2.3million home overlooking Lake Zurich during the crisis, having left the UK after the lockdown. 

It comes as Royal Mail revealed that revenue from UK parcels, international and letters dropped by £22 million in April when compared to the same month last year.

Mr Back will be replaced by a duo of Keith Williams, who becomes interim executive chairman, and Stuart Simpson, who will be the temporary chief executive.

Mr Back attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his £2.3million home in this apartment block overlooking Lake Zurich during the crisis, having left the UK after the lockdown

Mr Back attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his £2.3million home in this apartment block overlooking Lake Zurich during the crisis, having left the UK after the lockdown

Chairman Keith Williams said: ‘Rico Back has made a significant contribution to the evolution of our business over his 20 years with us, particularly in building our international parcels business and developing our group strategy, which recognised the urgent need for change to create a sustainable business for the future.

‘On behalf of the board, I would like to extend my thanks to Rico and wish him well in the future.’

Rico Back: Career of the £647,000-a-year flying postman 

Rico Back, 66, founded and ran Royal Mail’s German arm GLS for almost three decades before taking over as group chief in 2018.

He was appointed the first managing director of German Parcel in 1989, before establishing the European-wide firm General Parcel in 1992.

Seven years later he led the sale of this to Royal Mail, and by 2002 a uniform brand called General Logistics Systems (GLS), was established.

The Hamburg-born businessman became known as ‘the Flying Postman’ because he normally commutes to Britain from Switzerland each week.

The married father-of-four used to spend his weekends at a luxurious £2.3million home overlooking Lake Zurich, before returning to Britain to work during the week.

But when he flies to the UK he covers the costs himself, including those of his London accommodation.

He took over as group boss from Dame Moya Greene in 2018, receiving £6million for changes to his contract. He was paid £647,000 last year but can earn up to £2.7million. 

Mr Back had promised a £1.8billion pound programme last year to transform Royal Mail into a sustainable, profitable operation by 2024.

But that turnaround plan has since been delayed by labour unrest and the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Back said: ‘It has been a privilege to lead a company that is so much a part of UK life at this crucial time in its history. 

‘I am proud of what I, together with our dedicated and loyal team, helped to build in Royal Mail and GLS.

‘I look forward to seeing Royal Mail transform into a parcels-led, international delivery company that continues to touch the lives of millions across the world.’

The company also said today that costs rose by £40million, driven by overtime and agency resource costs due to coronavirus-related outlays.

Royal Mail said it would provide another update on measures to put the business on a sustainable long-term path along with full-year results on June 25. 

Mr Back has attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his home in Switzerland, having left the UK after the lockdown.

Critics had said Mr Back, dubbed ‘the Flying Postman’ because he commutes to Britain, was too far away to effectively run Royal Mail and called for him to resign.

Mr Back has been working from his £2.3million family home, a luxury penthouse overlooking Lake Zurich.

The father-of-four, who took over as Royal Mail boss two years ago, usually travels by air to the UK for the working week and returns to the property during weekends.

A view of Lake Zurich from the road outside the apartment block where Mr Back, 66, lives

A view of Lake Zurich from the road outside the apartment block where Mr Back, 66, lives

But after the postal service’s London office was shut on March 24, it is understood Mr Back returned to Switzerland and has remained there.

He took over as group boss from Dame Moya Greene in 2018, receiving £6million for changes to his contract.

He was paid £647,000 last year but can earn up to £2.7million.

Dame Moya oversaw the privatisation of Royal Mail in 2013 and also settled a long-running dispute on pay, pensions and a shorter working week for employees. 

Critics have questioned whether he could effectively run Royal Mail, which employs 140,000 staff, while being partly based abroad.

However Mr Back and Royal Mail had defended the arrangement, saying he would be in the UK every week or ‘as and when requested’.

When he flies to the UK he covers the costs himself, including those of his London accommodation.

Postman Neil Martin talking at a distance to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after receiving a letter addressed to postal workers from them at Birkhall on May 10

Postman Neil Martin talking at a distance to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after receiving a letter addressed to postal workers from them at Birkhall on May 10

Three weeks ago, Royal Mail said it had halted all Saturday letter deliveries until further notice as it continues to suffer from staff shortages.

The move has meant people can now end up waiting two days for their post as letters already do not come on Sundays.

However the majority of parcels have not been affected by the service cutback.

Letters that have to be signed for as well as tracked items and those sent by special delivery are still being delivered on Saturdays.

The service restriction came after union leaders encouraged postmen to call in sick rather than risk catching the virus on their rounds.

Royal Mail workers have been designated as key workers to keep deliveries going during the pandemic.

In March, the Communication Worker’s Union lobbied for deliveries to be cut back to just three days a week with homes receiving post every other day – but the plan was not implemented.

Royal Mail’s German chief executive Rico Back steps down


Royal Mail’s chief executive Rico Back quit today after two years in charge marked by battles with unions over efforts to restructure the postal service.

In a surprise departure, the 66-year-old German businessman has agreed with the board to step down with immediate effect and will leave the company on August 15.

Hamburg-born Mr Back founded and ran the company’s German arm GLS for almost three decades before taking over as group chief in 2018.

But Mr Back – dubbed ‘the Flying Postman’ because he commutes to Britain from Switzerland – attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his £2.3million home overlooking Lake Zurich during the crisis, having left the UK after the lockdown. 

It comes as Royal Mail revealed that revenue from UK parcels, international and letters dropped by £22 million in April when compared to the same month last year.

Rico Back leaves the job at Royal Mail after agreeing his departure with the board

Mr Back will be replaced by a duo of Keith Williams, who becomes interim executive chairman, and Stuart Simpson, who will be the temporary chief executive.

Chairman Keith Williams said: ‘Rico Back has made a significant contribution to the evolution of our business over his 20 years with us, particularly in building our international parcels business and developing our group strategy, which recognised the urgent need for change to create a sustainable business for the future.

‘On behalf of the board, I would like to extend my thanks to Rico and wish him well in the future.’

Mr Back had promised a £1.8billion pound programme last year to transform Royal Mail into a sustainable, profitable operation by 2024.

But that turnaround plan has since been delayed by labour unrest and the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Back attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his £2.3million home in this apartment block overlooking Lake Zurich during the crisis, having left the UK after the lockdown

Mr Back attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his £2.3million home in this apartment block overlooking Lake Zurich during the crisis, having left the UK after the lockdown

Mr Back said: ‘It has been a privilege to lead a company that is so much a part of UK life at this crucial time in its history. I am proud of what I, together with our dedicated and loyal team, helped to build in Royal Mail and GLS.

‘I look forward to seeing Royal Mail transform into a parcels-led, international delivery company that continues to touch the lives of millions across the world.’

The company also said today that costs rose by £40million, driven by overtime and agency resource costs due to coronavirus-related outlays.

Royal Mail said it would provide another update on measures to put the business on a sustainable long-term path along with full-year results on June 25. 

Mr Back has attracted criticism for running Royal Mail from his home in Switzerland, having left the UK after the lockdown.

A view of Lake Zurich from the road outside the apartment block where Mr Back, 66, lives

A view of Lake Zurich from the road outside the apartment block where Mr Back, 66, lives

Critics had said Mr Back, dubbed ‘the Flying Postman’ because he commutes to Britain, was too far away to effectively run Royal Mail and called for him to resign.

Mr Back has been working from his £2.3million family home, a luxury penthouse overlooking Lake Zurich.

The father-of-four, who took over as Royal Mail boss two years ago, usually travels by air to the UK for the working week and returns to the property during weekends.

But after the postal service’s London office was shut on March 24, it is understood Mr Back returned to Switzerland and has remained there.

A specially decorated postbox bearing the words 'Thank You NHS' in Manchester yesterday

A specially decorated postbox bearing the words ‘Thank You NHS’ in Manchester yesterday

He took over as group boss from Dame Moya Greene in 2018, receiving £6million for changes to his contract.

He was paid £647,000 last year but can earn up to £2.7million.

Dame Moya oversaw the privatisation of Royal Mail in 2013 and also settled a long-running dispute on pay, pensions and a shorter working week for employees. 

Critics have questioned whether he could effectively run Royal Mail, which employs 140,000 staff, while being partly based abroad.

However Mr Back and Royal Mail had defended the arrangement, saying he would be in the UK every week or ‘as and when requested’.

A Royal Mail postman empties a postbox near the SEC Centre in Glasgow on April 1

He flies to the UK covers the costs himself, including those of his London accommodation.

Three weeks ago, Royal Mail said it had halted all Saturday letter deliveries until further notice as it continues to suffer from staff shortages.

The move has meant people can now end up waiting two days for their post as letters already do not come on Sundays.

However the majority of parcels have not been affected by the service cutback.

Postman Neil Martin talking at a distance to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after receiving a letter addressed to postal workers from them at Birkhall on May 10

Postman Neil Martin talking at a distance to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall after receiving a letter addressed to postal workers from them at Birkhall on May 10

Letters that have to be signed for as well as tracked items and those sent by special delivery are still being delivered on Saturdays.

The service restriction came after union leaders encouraged postmen to call in sick rather than risk catching the virus on their rounds.

Royal Mail workers have been designated as key workers to keep deliveries going during the pandemic.

In March, the Communication Worker’s Union lobbied for deliveries to be cut back to just three days a week with homes receiving post every other day – but the plan was not implemented.