Following on from Part One here…

We were contacted by someone from NW Hub, who said they would try to locate our AirTag and return it to us. Excellent! With the tracking information for the parcel, they were able to ascertain the exact route it took through the labyrinthine escalator system of NW Hub. All the belts are enclosed, so it seemed likely the AirTag had come out of the Jiffy bag when it was split open, and was now underneath one of the belts resting on an inspection panel. Perhaps an engineer could remove a few panels and the AirTag would drop out?

There was also the very curious question of how the Jiffy bag came to be split open in the first place? We surmised that it had been “wooshed” through some rubber rollers at high speed, the AirTag had stuck and the envelope carried on, ripping the tag out through the end of the Jiffy bag. It turns out that’s not how it works, and letters are scanned from above with cameras, in any orientation (presumably they have to be face up) as they go along the belts. It also transpired that the small, light, Jiffy bag should not have been in NW Hub at all (!). Remember back to 25th Dec when the parcel went here before it went into NW Hub?

That is a “Mail Centre” where they pre-process the mail. Apparently, the machines at NW Hub can’t handle items lighter than 50g – they tend to fall off belts, don’t go around bends properly, etc. So the MC should have detected that and not sent it over the road to NW Hub. Where and how did the envelope get ripped, though – still a burning question!

Our contact had a CAD drawing of the machinery in the Hub as shown in the below image. They overlaid the location data we had for the AirTag onto the drawing, and with knowledge of which belts on which floor the parcel went along (from the RM tracking data), they were able to home-in on where the tag might be.

Engineers were dispatched to remove inspection panels in the section of the line the tag was most likely to be in…

But it wasn’t there.

As a poignant footnote to this blog, in early Nov-23 it was announced that “Royal Mail loses 360-year monopoly on delivering parcels from Post Office sites“, and it was noted that “Industry sources said the decision was the result of increasing dissatisfaction at the Post Office with Royal Mail because of customers complaining about the standard of service.”
We can’t help thinking this is not unrelated 😉


Skip to content