THE mum of a young Cheshire Regiment soldier is furious she will have to pay to send comfort parcels to him in Iraq.
A year ago, as the war against Saddam Hussein raged, the Government decided to waive the usual charge to send packets to British troops involved in the fighting.
But on April 8 this temporary concession was removed and relatives once again have to pay out £6.89 a time to send parcels weighing up to 2kg via the British Forces Post Office (BFPO).
This has angered Christine Jones of Ellesmere Port whose 23-year-old son, Private Leonard 'Bud' Jones, is now in the Basra area with his mates from the Cheshires.
She said: 'My sister went to the post office and they told us we'd have to pay to send out the parcels.
'I want to send my son regular parcels containing little home comforts like toiletries and sweets but it's going to cost an awful lot of money to do it.'
She added: 'I don't think it's fair charging to send the parcels again. After all, it's still a war zone and our lads are still being shot at. I understand American troops serving out there receive parcels from home free of charge, so why can't our lads get the same treatment?
'I know other relatives of lads from the Cheshires and they are also angry about this.'
A statement from the BFPO says: 'Iraq was the only theatre of operation to receive the free postal packet concession.
'To continue the concession would be unfair to personnel deployed on operations other than in Iraq.
'Following the reduction of personnel numbers in theatre, the increased availability of consumables locally and the consequent reduction in demand, the decision was taken to end the service.'
The statement adds: 'The welfare support available to those in the Iraq theatre of operations includes free letters - blueys and eblueys - which will continue, free internet access, free phone calls, free books and newspapers, and free radios and televisions.'
Mrs Jones said: 'I spoke to my son the other night and he laughed at me when I said the Government reckons there are shops out there where the troops can buy things.
'He said they were in a desert with no possibility of any shopping trips. He also told me they desperately need the toiletries to be sent out.'
If you have a relative serving with the Cheshires and are concerned about having to pay to send parcels to them, e-mail us at: email@example.com.