Royal Mail website
The Royal Mail website where the incorrect banned list for sending items to France was published.

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For over a week an incorrect ‘Banned list’ of items was circulated online preventing British export from post offices to countries including France, Netherlands, Portugal and Ireland.

The list included “printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts and plans” as well as “fabrics”, “glass and glassware” and “toys, games and sports requisites”. The Royal Mail, after being alerted to the error by ATG, acknowledged on December 1 that it was an administrative mistake and planned to rectify the issue as soon as possible.

Royal Mail website

Part of the list that appeared on the Royal Mail website showing the incorrect items that were banned from being sent to France.

A spokesman said new lists will be published detailing exactly what type of items were prohibited in which countries and many items on the current list will, of course, no longer be included.

Although many people attempting to post items that featured on the incorrect banned list knew instinctively the information was wrong, they were prevented from posting them by staff at their local Post Office who were following the ‘rules’ as detailed on their computer systems and online.

Map and book dealer Daniel Crouch, who is also the spokesman for The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association, said: “It is an unfortunate and unwelcome error, and has caused some disruption for a couple of days, but we are pleased Royal Mail has acknowledged the error and look forward to them removing the offending articles from the website and notifications to offices.”

The long list of more than 45 ‘banned’ categories included “all live animals, except bees and leeches”. Leeches were allowed if enclosed with “marsh soil or moss in a canvas bag carefully sealed and placed in a second container (wooden box or basket) packed with hay or straw”.