Amid calls to boycott the Post Office, one sub-postmaster is begging the public to continue to support their local branches.

Saj Hussain has been the sub-postmaster (SPM) at Knaphill for 38 years, and as the non-executive director of the South East for the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters he has heard from other SPMs that people are threatening to boycott the Post Office. 

This threatened boycott comes on the heels of ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office, which has revealed the hundreds of lives that were ruined after the Post Office wrongly accused SPMs of theft and fraud due to shortfalls at their branches.

The discrepancies were in fact caused by errors with the Post Office’s Horizon accounting software.

Many SPMs had to make up the shortfalls themselves or were wrongfully imprisoned, with four taking their lives over the scandal.

Mr Hussain said: “The Post Office was bullying and using all sorts of tricks to get the money.”

The sub-postmistress of the Byfleet branch, Seema Misra, was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2010 on the day of her eldest son’s tenth birthday, while pregnant with her second child.

She was released after four months and gave birth to her second son while still wearing her electronic probation tag. 

Mr Hussain has spoken with Seema. He said: “The poor lady. Anyone could tell that there was something wrong and that it wasn’t her fault.

“The whole thing is a complete and total misjustice.”

Mr Hussain explained that while the accounting errors were clearly widespread across the country, there was no communication between SPMs or from the Post Office. Each branch was kept in the dark. 

“It was a nightmare really,” said Mr Hussain. “We had no idea there were so many cases.

“We were told again and again that Horizon was infallible. At the yearly sub-postmaster conferences they told us it was robust. But it clearly was not. 

‘‘We had no idea what was going on because so many SPMs suffered in silence.”

Now Mr Hussain is telling SPMs to log any issues and discrepancies in the hope that a similar miscarriage of justice will never happen again. 

He wants the public to know that boycotting the Post Office will only hurt the SPMs who have already suffered enough. The SPMs are commission-based, meaning they only get paid when someone makes a transaction.

Mr Hussain knows there is a lot of anger towards the Post Office right now, but he hopes people will continue to support their local branches.