ELDERLY residents in Weymouth and Portland were forced to pay out for election leaflets sent to their homes.

Valerie Powell, 75, and Laurence Mossey, 87, both received cards through the post requesting they pick up letters from their local postal office that had been sent through the mail without stamps.

After paying for them, they discovered the letters contained leaflets and literature promoting candidates standing in the forthcoming county elections and the borough council by-election.

The literature was sent to the residents by post as they are both postal voters. 

Ms Powell received an election leaflet from Labour candidate Kate Wheller, and Mr Mossey received leaflets from Conservative candidates Jason Osborne and Mike Byatt.

The letters each cost £2 to pick up from their local postal office. 

Ms Powell and Mr Mossey, both being elderly residents, needed help from relatives to pick the letters up.

Ms Powell, who lives on Portland, received her letter last Friday. 

She said: “When I first got the card through the post I thought it was one of my own family who had forgotten to stamp a letter. 

“I got my son to take me to the Post Office. 

“I opened it I passed it to my son. He said ‘It’s disgusting, this is really bad mum’.” 

Ms Powell’s son James, said: “It turned out to be what I would call junk mail from Kate Wheller. My mother doesn’t have a lot of money to throw about.”

Ms Powell has already sent her postal vote, but said that the incident with the letter will affect her view of the party. 

Kate Wheller is a candidate for Portland Harbour in the upcoming Dorset County Council elections on May 4. 

She said: “I am most horribly sorry. 

“It was absolutely my fault, it must have slipped through when I was stamping the letters.

“I will personally reimburse her.” 

Mr Mossey, a Weymouth resident, received a card from the Royal Mail on Monday morning. 

He is housebound, and his speech has been severely affected following a stroke.

His son, Bob Mossey, went to pick up the letter from the Royal Mail delivery centre in Weymouth on his behalf. 

His son said: “We got a card which said you can’t receive this letter because you need to pay the postage. 

“It just drove me mad. 

“Is this how politicians are getting their message across? 

“Is there no depths they won’t stoop to?”

Jason Osborne is standing as a candidate for Weymouth Town in the county council elections.

He said: “I’m shocked and quite angry. All letters are posted through the letterbox. Nothing has been posted with stamps. We have not posted anything through the Royal Mail.”

Mr Osborne said that the incident is not good for him or the Conservative party. 

Mike Byatt, who is standing as a candidate for Westham East in the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council by-election on May 4, said: “We have not sent any election material through the post. I don’t know how that’s happened. Postal vote material is sent to people via a franking system but there should be no amount to pay by the recipient. 

“All other material has been delivered by hand as is the standard procedure.”

Nigel Bundy is acting as election agent for Mr Byatt and Mr Osborne. 

He said: “All I can think is that it missed the franking machine. It is a human error. It didn’t get picked up before it was sent out. 

“I apologise on behalf of Jason Osborne and Mike Byatt.”

Both parties have said they will reimburse the recipients of the literature. 

Have you been sent election literature you’ve had to pay for? Contact us at 01305 830999 email newsdesk@dorsetecho.co.uk