Parcelforce has put a stop to ad-hoc collections in the face of unprecedented demand in the run-up to Christmas. The Royal Mail's package courier has pledged to honour all existing collection arrangements and have them delivered by the big day.
The news means "last minute" orders from online retailers may not be possible.
A spokesman said the Parcelforce would also be forced to delay "a very small amount" of deliveries by 24 hours. He said the service was running almost to plan, though demand had outpaced its anticipations, adding: "We're working very hard."
The firm said early indications were that there had been a bigger fall off in high street sales of items like books than it had expected this year. ®