Bharti Maisuria has been accepting milk tokens, for no profit, for the past 24 years, with only the odd voucher going missing when she sent them in for redemption. But now she's missing £420-worth with the Post Office managing to lose 110 vouchers the whole package. When she submitted a copy of her certificate of posting to claim back she was told she would not be reimbursed because the Post Office neglected to put the weight of the packet on the certificate. She says the PO had never recorded the weight in the past.

I asked her whether she had any paperwork spelling out the rules; whereas she once did, she no longer knew where it was. It's a long time 24 years.

When I looked through my files I found an out-of-date (2003) Liquid Milk Guide for Suppliers by the Welfare Food Reimbursement Unit, since replaced by the Healthy Start Reimbursement Unit (HSRU).

I contacted the Department of Health, which was very unhelpful. The woman in the press office kept telling me that I did not have a media enquiry and that this was a consumer issue and I should contact Trading Standards. I argued that it would be good to clarify the policy on returns for readers. She grudgingly said I could email her the details and she would see if anyone could comment.

She came back promptly saying, as she suspected, no one could. I took the precaution of emailing the HSRU and a helpful bloke, Rob Ward, administrator for the unit, sent me a link (www.hsru.co.uk), which spells it all out very clearly for retailers in the Frequently Asked Questions section. The devil as always is in the detail. So get the vouchers weighed.

I have also suggested to Bharti that she check out her insurance policy.

If this was theft, how was it done? Anybody know?

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