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Hovding helmets inflate on impact - and it turns out Royal Mail won't handle them...

A woman whose groundbreaking inflatable cycle helmet was destroyed by Royal Mail because it "breached safety rules" has complained that she has lost goods worth £323 without being contacted.

According to the BBC,  Anne Nagle, from Shrewsbury bought the Hovding helmet, worn as a collar but which inflates to protect the head on impact, by mail order but then posted it back because it wasn’t comfortable.

An email from Royal Mail explained  her package "had been disposed of" because a gas cylinder inside made it a fire risk.

Mrs Nagle said: "What surprised me is Royal Mail opened the parcel and then destroyed it," said the mother-of-three.

"My address was on the parcel, it was a regular parcel. I thought it would have been reasonable... to contact me and say you shouldn't have posted this."

Tony Marsh, the Royal Mail's director of group security, said: "Compressed gas cylinders - whatever the contents - are prohibited items under dangerous goods regulations.

"Many of the compressed gasses can be flammable so that represents a fire as well as an explosion risk."

Online bike supplies stores like Wiggle already sell compressed gas in the form of CO2 pumps, which according to the company’s deliveries page are sent by Royal Mail.

No mention is made of how gas canisters sold online by Evans are to be returned, but the specialist compressed gas online supplier CO2 Cartridges say they do not use Royal Mail.

Hovding offers free shipping of its bike helmets across Europe, but its website does not list the delivery company.

In the returns section of the company’s returns policy, no restrictions on delivery methods are mentioned.

But on Royal Mail’s website, there is a clear restriction against:

Gases that are compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure, permanent gases which cannot be liquefied at ambient temperatures, liquefied gases which become liquid under pressure at ambient temperatures, dissolved gases which are dissolved under pressure in a solvent.

1. All flammable compressed gases are prohibited e.g. blowlamps; butane; lighters and refills containing flammable liquid or gas; ethane; gas cylinders for camping stoves; hydrogen; methane and propane.

2. All toxic compressed gases are prohibited e.g. chlorine; fluorine etc.

3. All non-flammable compressed gases are prohibited e.g. air bags; scuba tanks, carbon dioxide; fire extinguishers; neon and nitrogen.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.