A CONSUMER watchdog is urging people to take extra care with their Christmas mail.
Postwatch Northern England urged all consumers to be extra careful when sending packages, cards and letters in the run-up to Christmas.
It stressed it was important to ensure that everything was properly packaged, insured and addressed, owing to the increased volume of items which are sent through the post at this time.
Postwatch Northern England chairman Judith Donovan said: "In the run-up to Christmas people send more important, valuable and sentimental items through the post.
"Postwatch Northern England is urging all consumers to check that they have used the correct service and that their items are properly packaged.
"If in doubt, ask the Post Office counter staff!
"They are trained to handle these types of query and should provide any necessary advice.
"Consumers need to advise counter staff what it is they are sending - to make sure the correct level of compensation cover is taken out.
"Although this may cost a little more, it is essential for that extra piece of mind.
"When sending items through the post, people should always check for service exclusions and restrictions as this may affect their ability to claim compensation.
"If the worst comes to the worst and an item gets lost or damaged, we would advise consumers to submit their claims as soon as possible."