CHAOS has erupted at a Royal Mail sorting office with missing parcels and long wait times.

Angry customers have been left queueing for more than an hour due to what Royal Mail claims is unprecedented sickness rates at the busiest time of the year.

The problems are taking place at the Benfleet sorting office, in Church Road.

Many left waiting claim when they get to the front of the queue parcels are not there and they are not being left with neighbours either.

Carol Witham, 41, said: “Three times I have received a card under the door to say my parcel will be available to collect from the sorting office on the next working day, and each time I have gone down there it is utter chaos.

“Each time I was waiting around an hour to be told it hasn’t been processed yet.

“I can’t understand why, there must be something else going on.

“Never had I had a card saying to collect the next day to be told four days later it still isn’t there.

“Where on earth is it then? No one can seem to tell me where my parcel is and I’m getting very worried now.

People took to social media to vent their frustrations however, many expressed sympathy for the staff stating that it wasn’t their fault.

Wendy Bateman, posted on Facebook: “I have nothing but gratitude for all at sorting office - it’s not their fault.

“I was promised a call back for a missing parcel and they did.”

Another customer, who did not want to be named, said: “The postmen don’t seem to be leaving parcels with neighbours and they are three to four days behind.

“When you go there you can’t park and there’s about 30 people in the queue.

“Everyone’s going nuts and there’s like one person on the counter.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We regret that some customers in the Benfleet area may have been experiencing delays in collecting their mail from our Customer Service Point.

“This has been due to unusually high levels of sick absence during the busy Christmas period. We are continuing to provide extra resource to Benfleet Delivery Office in order to ensure customers are assisted as quickly as possible. Any customers with concerns about their mail should contact Royal Mail customer services by calling 03457 740 740 or by visiting”