THE Royal Mail has defended its service in Amersham after the town's post was listed as among the worst in the country.

A national newspaper sent first and second-class letters throughout Britain and abroad on December 14, and found that a first-class letter to Amersham took six days.

But a Royal Mail spokeswoman told the Free Press: "We are confident that all cards posted by the last posting dates were delivered in time for Christmas and many of those that were posted after those dates were also delivered before Christmas. We would seek to reassure the people of Amersham that this is the case."

The Daily Mirror sent 22 first-class Christmas cards from east London to British destinations as far apart as Aberdeen and Minehead, Somerset.

Some 15 arrived before Amersham's card. Nine second-class greetings arrived before the Amersham envelope, sent with a 27p stamp. Cards to the USA, Spain and Hong Kong also arrived before others reached Amersham.

But Amersham's political leaders have leapt to the defence of the postal service. Town mayor Brian Guest said: "I haven't had any problems."

And Amersham Old Town councillor Martin King said he was surprised by the survey.

"I think our postal service is brilliant," he added. "I get first-class treatment."

Over the four-week run up to Christmas, nearly 462,000 letters were delivered in Amersham, compared with a usual four-week total of 350,000 letters.