Hermes parcels sorted in makeshift Northampton car park depot

Image caption Parcels were prepared for delivery in open air car park

Parcels from major high street firms have been discovered being sorted for delivery in a makeshift depot in a car park.

The Hermes packages were being handed to their couriers next to a public road on an industrial estate in Northampton.

Some of the couriers spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity and said the current system was a "shambles".

Hermes said the situation arose because its usual depot provider had gone into liquidation.

Pallets of parcels included those from major brands including Next, H&M, Panasonic and Groupon.

Image caption Most of the couriers use cars to ferry their parcels around

BBC Radio Northampton found about 12 couriers loading items for delivery into their cars.

Although none would give on-the-record interviews, they said they were all self-employed and if they did not meet the delivery times booked by customers they would not get paid.

A spokesman for Hermes said: "We were informed without notice that one of our third-party sub depot suppliers had gone into liquidation, leaving us without our usual premises for sorting local parcels this morning.

"In order to fulfil all orders on time, we implemented a quick and proven solution, monitored by three field managers and a depot supervisor, which allowed couriers to receive parcels at an agreed exchange point.

"Alternative plans have now been put in place and due to this quick action we envisage there will be no delays to deliveries across the area."

Image caption The couriers told the BBC the current arrangements were a shambles

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