'Third Class Post', in the broadcaster's 'Dispatches' series, drew on filming by two undercover reporters working as casual labour for Royal Mail. One reporter filmed another casual worker, who claimed that he had stolen a credit card from Royal Mail's distribution chain.
In a joint statement issued by Channel 4, Hardcash Productions and Royal Mail, it was admitted that this claim was false. Channel 4 accepted that, following evidence supplied after broadcast by Barclaycard, that the credit card had not in fact been taken from the post as the worker had claimed, but had been fraudulently obtained and was being fenced by a temporary postal worker away from the premises.
Royal Mail also objected to newspaper advertisements for the programme that depicted an envelope containing a birthday card being opened and money taken from it by a Royal Mail worker. Channel 4 has now acknowledged that the photograph was a mock-up posed by an actor, and that during six months of undercover filming, no such acts were filmed.
According to Royal Mail, the undercover filming "took place at a time of massive change in the postal service".
The company said: "The number of temporary employees within the company was higher than normal. It has now been reduced from a high of 22,000 people to around 4,000 people.
"Royal Mail has now gained the right to vet new recruits for criminal records. This is an important step in making the postal service more secure, which the company had secured before the 'Dispatches' film, but which had not at that stage been made public."
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