HC Deb 04 February 1897 vol 45 cc1272-3

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that every sealed mail bag sent from the Post Office can be easily opened without breaking the seal or cutting the twine, and rifled of its contents, which can then be replaced wholly or in part with the seal still intact; whether an easy method of doing this has been demonstrated to Mr. Braid, postmaster, Glasgow; whether Mr. Peter Dunsire, of Buckhaven, has brought under the notice of the Department a simple invention which would make it impossible to rob a mail bag without cutting it: whether this invention could be applied at very small cost to each mail bag; and, or what grounds the Department have declined to secure the safe transit of Her Majesty's mails by refusing to adopt Mr. Dunsire's invention, or allowing the trial of it which was sanctioned by Mr. Mahon, Surveyor of the Edinburgh Post Office?


It is not the fact that every sealed mail bag can be easily opened without breaking the seal or cutting the string. Mr. Dunsire, who was at the time sub-postmaster of Methil, was permitted to experiment on a bag in the presence of the Postmaster of Glasgow, and succeeded in drawing the neck of the bag through the string, but bags are now so made as to render such a manipulation of the neck impossible if ordinary care is used in tying the string. Mr. Dunsire's invention, which is similar to many others submitted for the consideration of the Department, was thoroughly examined by practical officers, but it was not held to afford any greater security than the present method, while the cost would be much greater, and more time would be required for closing the bags. The present method of fastening bags with string and wax is simple and satisfactory, and there is no risk attendant thereon which Mr. Dunsire's invention would remove.