Newsagents left thousands of pounds out of pocket after protestors delay newspapers
PUBLISHED: 11:29 06 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:29 06 September 2020
Newsagents are today counting the costs of yesterday’s newspaper delivery chaos caused by Extinction Rebellion protests at the print works.
Some say the bill will run to thousands of pounds as they were forced to run additional deliveries and bring in extra staff to handle complaints, while others fear they have “let their customers down” because they were unable to get them their daily papers.
David Patrick, of DC Newsagents, which has branches in Woodbridge, Halesworth and Framlingham, said: “We deliver to 4,500 customers each day and after our first delivery from our suppliers yesterday we were still 3,000 papers down.
“Most of our EADT papers only came in this morning so some people are getting yesterday’s papers today and some won’t get theirs at all.”
MORE: Read your weekend edition of the EADT for free here
More than 100 demonstrators from Extinction Rebellion (XR) used vehicles and bamboo lock-ons to block roads outside the Newsprinters printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool, Friday evening, with both protests continuing until Saturday afternoon.
The blockade prevented delivery vans from leaving presses which publish the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp’s titles including The Sun, The Times, The Sun On Sunday and The Sunday Times, as well as The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday, plus the EADT and sister title the EDP.
XR say the protest was held because of the national titles‘ ”failure to report on the climate & ecological emergency”.
Printing was moved to other sites but there were major delays with deliveries.
MORE: Protestors disrupt newspaper printing after demonstration in Broxbourne
Mr Patrick said: “They may think they are clever and that they have done the world of good, but the haven’t because we had more vans out on the road because of this.
“Papers were drip fed through so we had to do three trips down to Ipswich to collect them, and had to make extra deliveries too.”
Even when he did get papers through, Mr Patrick was still unable to deliver to some more remote locations.
“I deliver right across east Suffolk from Beccles down to Kesgrave, and because it is so rural I have to use vans not paper boys. I can’t afford to send vans out two or three times so if we didn’t have the papers first thing then we weren’t able to deliver them but we did the best we could.”
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As well as the additional fuel costs, and the lost revenue, Mr Patrick had to bring in additional staff to man the phones.
“We had people calling in asking for their papers, then when they got them they were asking about the missing supplements.”
He added: “My day started at 3.30am and finished at 8pm, and it was all for nothing financially. I have not even tried to work out the total cost, but it will have cost me a lot of money and still I have let customers down, through no fault of my own.”
Adrian Rigby was in charge at Court News, in Bury St Edmunds, yesterday and he said: “We had to let about 200 EADT readers down, we only had 225 papers come in and on a Saturday they usually fly off the shelves so we couldn’t do any of our home deliveries.
“We got some of the nationals in - The Mail, Guardian, Express and Mirror but we had no copies of The Times, EDP or The Telegraph.
“We will run to a loss of a good few thousand as a result of this.”
He added: “There is a not a lot we could do, I guess you just have to take it on the chin.”
Aaron Rose, from Suffolk News Delivery, said they were delivering 800 copies of the EADT to readers today after finally getting their papers this morning - 24 hours late.
“The whole dynamic of the business had to change,” he said. “Sunday is usually an easier day as fewer people have a paper but today we had to pull in extra drivers and our paper boys and girls have had to take on extra work to get them all out.”
He said that yesterday they had the supplements including TV schedules that come with the national titles as these are printed ahead of time.
“We had all the extras but not the most important part and we had to make a decision whether to deliver those or leave it. In the end we delivered whatever we could.”
The business, which delivers papers across Ipswich and the rural communities surrounding the town which do not have newsagents or delivery services, fielded 900 calls as readers sought out their newspapers.
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