Police called after Edinburgh MSP bombarded with nuisance mail
Liberal Democrat member for Edinburgh Western, Alex Cole-Hamilton, received the pile of nuisance mail at his Clifton Terrace office last week.
Speculation is now rife as to whether the post was a bizarre prank or a malicious attempt to cut into Mr Cole-Hamilton’s constituency coffers.
“We had a bit of a laugh about it at their expense,” he said. “It must’ve taken them two or three days, but it’s unlikely to cost us a penny.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton said the freepost address was “widely available”, pushed through constituents’ doors on surveys so they can submit them completed to his office.
“It’s important in a democracy that elected members are accessible and at no cost to yourself and we fundraise to support that,” he said.
Some 2000 envelopes with the freepost address scrawled in the same handwritten block capitals and ink arrived last Wednesday at the Clifton Terrace Lib Dem base.
Mr Cole-Hamilton’s staff started opening the envelopes to find nothing inside and immediately twigged to the ruse.
The MSP said he suspected the sender intended for him to run up a bill of close to £1,000 in freepost fees.
“Clearly this was designed to target us, to drain our resources, but what they didn’t know is that the Royal Mail might refund malicious misuse of postal addresses, as they may do in this case,” he said.
“To spend that amount of time on something like this is a bit of a worry. My staff just wondered what was going on.
“But I would’ve been far more worried if they’d been knocking on doors in my constituency persuading people to vote for someone else.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton’s staff have now reported the matter to police, but hold out little hope officers will be able to trace the sender.
“We’re not wasting police time, it’s just so they can log it and see the bigger picture,” Mr Cole-Hamilton said.
“Ever since Jo Cox, we don’t take anything lightly and log with police anything that’s out of the ordinary.”
The Royal Mail is understood to look at malicious use of freeport services on a case-by-case basis before considering covering the cost itself.
A spokeswoman said: “We are investigating and liaising with the MSP on this matter.”
Police officers are expected to meet with Mr Cole-Hamilton and his staff today to discuss the matter.
A police spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh have received a report of inappropriate use of a freepost service in the Corstorphine area.
“Officers will liaise with the recipient to establish the full circumstances surrounding this report.”