THOUSANDS of customers have been left in the lurch following the sudden closure of three post offices managed by the same person.

Post offices at Christchurch's Saxon Square, Poole's Dolphin Shopping Centre and Bournemouth's West Hill Road, all closed without warning six weeks ago.

The Daily Echo has previously reported on these individual closures. However, yesterday, for the first time, the post office confirmed the same person is involved in running all three units.

Post office bosses also said all three closures, which happened without warning on June 19 and remain unresolved, were because of a "contractual matter" between themselves and their agent.

Hiren Modi, the agent in question, is the person who had been running all three outlets.

Despite efforts by the Echo, Mr Modi remained unavailable for comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, customers have been left to seek alternative arrangements.

Residents in Christchurch feel particularly aggrieved, as the post office at Saxon Square only opened earlier this year.

Prior to Mr Modi opening the Christchurch unit, the town centre had been without a post office for 21 months.

After opening the Saxon Square branch in January, Mr Modi said: "I've bought six offices in six years and I feel this is the most exciting project.

"It is also very good because there is no other post office around, so I can imagine how much people need this post office.

"People don’t notice until it is gone, but when a post office is gone they realise it is a very important place for the community."

Yesterday, Christchurch pensioner Gerald McCaskell said: "We had to wait a long time for this service, so it is disappointing everything appears to have fallen apart.

"The sign on the door, which has been there for some time now, blames a technical glitch for the closure.

"There are a lot of rumours circulating about why it is closed though.

"It is a bit of a worry to hear the same guy has been running three that closed on the same day, I would like to know when they will open again."

To date post office chiefs have refused to shed more light on the contractual matter which forced the closures.

They also are unable to confirm exactly when all three post offices will be able to reopen, or if they even will.

A post office spokesman explained: "We understand and appreciate how much communities rely on our services and we apologise for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of Christchurch, West Hill and Longfleet, which have been temporary closed since 19 June, due to a contractual matter which is confidential between the post office and our agent.

"We would like to reassure customers that the decision to suspend services at any of our branches is never taken lightly, and we will only do so when it is warranted.

"We are committed to providing a post office in these areas and we are looking to see how we can restore post office services to the area as soon as possible."

Neighbours at West Hill said they remained in the dark about the reasons for their branch's closure.

Meanwhile, in Poole, shopper Angela Chaudry said: "It was handy to use, lots of pensioners came in here because it is inside the shopping centre.

"But there is a post office quite close in the town centre.

"It all seems a bit of a mystery, lets hope it is sorted out soon."