Bankruptcy and prosecution - postmasters tell their story

Today we published our investigation into the experiences of postmasters, after speaking to a group about their concerns over the accounts system at their branches. They told us how they faced severe problems after coming across deficits in their accounts that they could not explain. They were asked to pay back the deficits – which were up to £50,000. The postmasters argue that issues with their IT terminals may have caused these deficits, but it’s a charge that the Post Office strongly denies.

We published the story because we think the concerns of postmasters, who are public servants, are worth reporting. We think there is a question to be answered if at least seven post masters have found themselves in a similar situation, and we hope to keep covering the issue to try and get to the bottom of the problem. The Post Office says the system is robust and regularly tested. But business systems experts in our story point out that any IT system can go wrong sometimes, and what matters is the way a company deals with it.

We’re interested in hearing from any other postmasters who think they may be in a similar situation to those in our story. Email rebecca.thomson@rbi.co.uk if you think you might have been affected.

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I have just appeared at Newcastle Crown Court charged with False Accounting. Horizon showed a shortage of £46000. The theft charge was dropped - no evidence! BT and Horizon engineers had attended earlier in the year but could find no reason why the system would not accept Debit cards while the phone or fax were connected. The response has always been that the Horizon sytem was "robust and reliable".
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