Parcel thefts are becoming more and more common in France as Christmas approaches with around four million parcels being delivered each day.
This particularly affects people who live in flats with a shared letterbox area as thieves can gain access to the space without residents knowing, police warn.
Sometimes thieves force letterbox doors open (rarely it is the delivery person themself who pockets a package or envelope).
Parcel thefts are also made easier by the fact that it is possible to legally buy master keys used by post and delivery people.
“Nowadays you can buy these ‘skeleton keys’ for €10- €100 and have 25 of them designed to allow complete access,” Jérôme Jimene of Ile-de-France’s UNSA police union told Franceinfo.
“These keys should only be used by professionals and should not be accessible to the average user.”
Some four million parcels are delivered each day in France in the lead-up to Christmas, and online orders have become more popular than ever since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.
Thefts still only impact a small minority of parcels but to avoid being affected customers are encouraged to opt for signed-for delivery or to pick their package up from the post office.
Apartment blocks should try to install CCTV cameras to deter thieves, and victims should report thefts to the police.