A NEWSAGENTS sold first-class stamps for 55p, instead of 46p.

Big News, in London Road, Leigh, has now been given an official warning by Royal Mail.

The Echo was tipped off about the stamps being sold at a higher price before today, when first-class stamps went up to 60p. Our reporter went in and bought stamp for 55p, then questioned the price.

The shop assistant claimed he had been told to sell the item at 55p because it had been more expensive for them to get hold of supplies at the moment.

He said: “If you go to the Post Office they are cheaper, but here they are a bit more expensive.”

However, Imran Salmi, owner of Big News, denies trying to make money ahead of Monday’s price hike. At first he tried to play down the incident, claiming a member of staff made a one-off mistake.

Then after being told the Echo had information suggesting this has happened on more than one occasion, Mr Salmi said: “I’d never say to my staff to charge more money for stamps. It’s not true.

“I have told them off and will make sure they’re selling them at the right price from now on. I think they just got confused.

“Anyone who has been overcharged can come into the shop and we will give them a refund.”

Royal Mail has issued a written warning to the store for breaching set price regulations. A spokeswoman said: “The correct price for a first-class stamp is 46p and a second class stamp is 36p.

“Any shop overcharging is in breach of its contract with Royal Mail. We would urge customers most strongly to refuse to pay more than the correct price and to report anybody who is overcharging to our customer service department so we can act immediately.”

One Leigh resident, who did not want to be named, was appalled when staff at Big News tried to charge him 9p over the top for a first-class stamp.

He said: “Why would I pay them 55p, when I can walk down the road and get one for the right price?

“They tried to tell me that they were so short of stamps they had to charge more.”

Second-class stamps will rise to 50p on Monday. The Royal Mail Customer Service department can be contacted on 08457 740740.