A FORMER Llandudno sub-postmaster has called for ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells to be stripped of her CBE.

Campaigner Alan Bates appeared on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, January 2. He spoke from his home in Colwyn Bay about the current four-part series being aired on ITV - Mr Bates vs The Post Office and how he turned down the chance to become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) due to Ms Vennells still retaining her honour. 

The drama tells the shocking true story of one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history in which hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters and postmistresses were wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting due to a defective IT system.

Mr Bates, who ran the Wool Post and the Post Office in Craig-y-Don with his partner Suzanne, is played in the series by Toby Jones (Empire of Light, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Detectorists).

Talking about what he spotted, which then caused the unfair downfall of some many of his Post Office colleagues, Mr Bates said: "It all started for me a couple of weeks after the system [Horizon] went live. I suddenly found I had a £6,000 shortage on the system. 

"I couldn't understand it and I couldn't get any help with it. After doing hundreds and hundreds of print outs and spending hours and hours going through them I suddenly found whole batches of duplicated transactions that had made up the bulk of that money. Once I found it, I reversed them out.

"I put all my concerns in writing to the Post Office but they never ever responded on those points."


From 2000 to 2014, the Post Office accused sub-postmasters of theft and prosecuted more than 700 sub-postmasters.

Mr Bates said: "Post Office rebuffed our accusations year after year, not just from ourselves, but the MPs that were supporting us."

In January 2023, Bates turned down the offer of an OBE for services to justice.

He said: "I have always said it is not just about me, it is about the whole group.

"I couldn't accept it. It would have been a slap in the face to the rest of the group because Paula Vennells, the CEO of the Post Office for many years, had received a CBE for her services to Post Office. Well what service has she actually done? She has caused devastation to a major British institution that was at the heart of communities, she has ruined thousands of lives over the years. What on earth has she done to deserve it?

"It should be taken away and taken away now."

The first episode of Mr Bates vs The Post Office aired on ITV1 and ITVX at 9pm on Monday, January 1 2024. New episodes will then air at 9pm each night.

The final episode will air at 9pm on Thursday, January 4.