Nearly 60,000 items of post can’t be delivered every week - here’s where they end up
If you’ve ever lost something in the post, you might want to look for it in Limerick.
That’s the home of the National Returns Centre. A large warehouse hidden behind two sets of imposing iron gates in an industrial estate in Limerick city.
“We call it Aladdin’s Cave” Joe O’Sullivan, manager of the centre, tells me.
“You could find literally anything in there. There’s a treasure trove of items.”
The ‘cave’ is piled high with packages sent from all over the country. There’s a stack of laptops in the corner, not far from a large box full of old phones. It’s resting against a shelf holding some brand new hurleys, a pile of vinyl records and boxes of kids toys - all lost in the post for various reasons.
In the corner is a stack of Lotto tickets and scratch cards. “We don’t scratch them” says Joe, “they have to be disposed of”. Regardless of whether they’re a winner or not.
Well in excess of 3 million items a year end up in the National Returns Centre. They can’t be sent back to the owners because of a lack of a return address, and for various reasons can’t be delivered.
One package has a bunch of stamps from other letters sellotaped onto it. Others were sent with no address.
“We’re great, but we’re not mind readers” says Anna McHugh, Head of Communications with An Post.
Despite not being psychic they do very often manage to get post to people even with limited information. The ‘An Post Trickster’ is one of those testing their skills.
“He has posted scarves with knitted addresses on it, he has posted jigsaws that our staff have had to make the jigsaw to find the address, all kinds of different puzzles and challenges” Anna McHugh revealed.
“He hasn’t managed to best us yet, nor will he!”