BOURNEMOUTH and Poole will be among the first towns and cities in the UK to have Royal Mail parcel postboxes.

The company has revealed that 1,400 of the new, larger postboxes will be installed in 30 locations across the country over a six-month period, starting in August.

They will give users the chance to dodge lengthy queues in post offices by posting parcels in the same way as they post letters.

The only difference will be that postage must be pre-paid, using Royal Mail’s online labelling service.

To use the service, customers need to measure and weigh their own parcels and also have the ability to print out their own labels.

People will also be able to return parcels using the system, as long as they have a Royal Mail barcode attached.

Other locations on the list include Southampton, London Central, Bristol, Plymouth, Exeter, Glasgow and Croydon.

Existing letter postboxes were introduced in the 1850s and Royal Mail said the new move represents the first major change in the system since then.

The introduction of post boxes in the UK was first trialled in Jersey in 1852 and post boxes started to appear on the British mainland the following year.

Although the first ever postboxes were red, there were complaints that they were an eyesore in the countryside, so they were painted green a couple of years after they were launched. By 1874 people were complaining that they couldn’t see where they were so they were painted red again

A spokesman said: “The launch of parcel postboxes is also one of the biggest innovations in parcels since the launch of Parcel Post in 1883.”

The rollout follows a successful trial of the idea last year.

Royal Mail will be converting existing meter boxes, which it said had a larger aperture and a secure design.

Mark Street, head of campaigns at Royal Mail, said: “The wide scale introduction of parcel postboxes is one of the many ways we are looking to make the lives of our customers easier. We hope that the wider roll-out gives added flexibility to online sellers.”