Post office staff in Wimbledon have resorted to sorting letters in the street, in a desperate bid to beat a growing backlog of mail.

They were spotted sorting post in Worple Road on Sunday, prompting an angry reaction from customers. A huge backlog is growing at the Cranbrook Road distribution centre, caused by problems with a new delivery system and rolling strikes over job losses.

Royal Mail bosses said the sorting in the street was an “exceptional” measure to beat the backlog, which they blamed on “irresponsible” strikes.

The industrial action, organised by the Communication Workers’ Union, follows an announcement that 50 jobs - a third of the Wimbledon centre’s workforce - are to be axed. Further strikes are expected to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Last week Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond said: “The situation is unacceptable. I’ve received complaints from the staff who are being asked to deliver more letters in eight hours than they were in 10, and that’s not to mention the Wimbledon residents who are being badly let down.”