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Warrington's role in delivering your Christmas gifts
4:00pm Tuesday 24th December 2013 in News
LETTERS to Santa whizz along long conveyors while parcels are loaded up on to lorries on their way to homes.
It sounds a lot like life in Lapland - but it is in fact the tale from the Warrington Mail Centre, the north west’s largest Royal Mail postal depot.
Last week it was running at full capacity to deliver the millions of extra letters and parcels being sent at this time of year.
Dave Dunn, centre manager, said: “At our busiest period last Tuesday we had 3.1 million items processed and posted in 24 hours through the Warrington centre.
“Since December 2 we have had more than 8.7 million Christmas cards - that is the amount of post we normally deal with in 11 weeks.
“Year round we have 250 people working a late shift from 2pm to 10pm then we increase that by about 100 people every Christmas.”
But the journey of those Christmas cards and parcels is not always the easiest of routes with post going through a number of machines to first get all post facing the correct way, then addresses read by another which sends them to their designated postcode.
And at great speed too.
“Some of our machines can sort 44,000 pieces of post in an hour and they can read and sort the post into the right address,” added Dave. “If people do not address their male correctly our machines struggle to read it and it has to go to manual sorting. It’s important people sending cards should supply addresses with post codes.
“We have a team of people who search through a website to try and find addresses.”
And what about those all important letters to Santa?
Dave, who started out with Royal Mail 30 years ago as a postman, said: “We have a depot in Belfast that deals with the letters to Santa. People get a reply from us to say Santa has received your letter.”
But now the big day is out of the way life will seem a little easier for staff at the Lingley Mere base.
“It feels like a big drop off in January. Everyone is back to normal,” added Dave.
3.1 million = Letters and parcels the centre deals with during its busiest time in 24 hours.
450 = Seasonal workers taken on to help get those cards and parcels out in time.
3,000 = Post boxes which feed into the Warrington Mail Centre.
600,000 = Parcels being cleared in one day in the run up to Christmas.
110 = Largest amount of metal containers filled with parcels and letters which can be loaded on to the largest lorries.
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