PRESS readers have hit out at junk mail - and have revealed ways of beating the problem.

Liz Edge, a former councillor for City of York Council, of Parkside Close, York, said: "In the first week of the new year, I received 32 items of junk mail.

"These ranged from catalogues and leaflets to letters, all selling something.

"I think it's appalling that there is a thriving business in buying addresses - it's an invasion of privacy. Once you buy something on mail order, your details are passed on to all parts of the company."

Eric Wood, of Clifton Moor, York, said: "I can well understand the frustration experienced while trying to stop unsolicited junk mail.

"For the last 12 months I have been trying, and, yes, succeeding in stopping virtually all junk mail to my home address. To do this you must first recognise where the items come from, and then have the necessary contact details in order to stop it from that source."

Mr Wood advised that to stop any junk mail being delivered to their door by postmen, readers would need to contact Royal Mail.

He also said: "The Mailing Preference Service should be contacted to request your details be removed from marketing companies who, for example, may have bought your details commercially.

"You need to fill in the little boxes, often in small print and hidden at the bottom of a form, to indicate you do not wish to receive further mailings from companies that you deal with.

"I have found it may be necessary to write to them individually asking them to remove your details from their mailing lists."

John Rogers, of Barlby, near Selby, said: "If the mail Mrs Edge is receiving has her address on it, it can be returned to Royal Mail unopened with the word REFUSED written over the address."

A spokesman for Royal Mail today said: "Royal Mail is obliged under the terms of our licence to deliver all items of mail that are posted through our network, providing these are properly addressed, the correct postage is paid and the material isn't deemed to be of an offensive or dangerous nature.

"People can reduce the amount of personalised, addressed mail they receive by contacting the Mailing Preference Service, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SS, by phoning 08457 034 599 or by visiting the website"

Royal Mail can be contacted by email at; by phoning 08457 950950 or by writing to Door To Door Optouts, Royal Mail, Kings Mead House, Oxpens Road, Oxford OX1 1RX