Two post and parcel carriers at the centre of a recent investigation by Channel 4 programme Dispatches have said they do not believe its findings to be representative of service levels across their operations.

In a report broadcast on 29 April, Dispatches showed staff secretly filmed at UK Mail’s Bournemouth depot throwing and kicking parcels marked ‘fragile’ around; sweeping parcels indiscriminately from conveyors to floor; and leaving boxes stacked six-high, leaning over precariously.

Staff were also filmed suggesting that items from partly damaged consignments might be taken and used or auctioned online.

A separate undercover operation at TNT Post UK by the programme highlighted a lack of security in some mail deliveries, with some postmen leaving post containing personal details unsupervised for prolonged periods in bicycle panniers that were not locked to bikes or themselves closed by more than a Velcro strip or plastic buckle; and evidence of at least one postman tearing up and binning letters in a public park, instead of delivering them.

Responding to the report, TNT Post UK CEO Nick Wells said it had had two reported instances of mail theft out of 190,000 rounds during the last year. The firm has recently taken steps to increase the security of mail being delivered by locking panniers to bikes and making pannier locks more secure, he added.

“We’re judged by the quality of our service and that quality of 98.5% delivery on the very first attempt is winning us clients, in part because of the security and transparency we provide,” he said.

A statement on the firm’s website added that one of its postmen had been dismissed.

A spokeswoman for UK Mail told it took any evidence of poor service very seriously and had already launched an investigation into the programme’s findings.

“However, from 50 depots across the country we delivered 29m parcels last year, with only 486 customers needing to be compensated because their goods were damaged,” she added.

“We therefore don’t believe the footage from this one location is representative of our service.”