An historic Victorian postbox which had been repeatedly vandalised has now been removed by the Royal Mail – much to the surprise of villagers.

The postbox, which was embedded in the wall of a house on Highgate in Heaton, Bradford, is believed to date back as far as the 1850s.

Last May, residents found it haphazardly splashed with white paint, and after Royal Mail repainted it the traditional red, within hours it was daubed with white again.

The metal plaque displaying the collection times was also removed, leaving people unsure as to whether the box was still in use.

Now a year on from the vandalism, the postbox has been removed without warning, and the hole filled in.

Sonja McNally, chairman of the Heaton Township Association, said she was concerned that not only had residents not been given any notice, but they had also not had a chance to put their side forward.

“There was no notification,” she said. “How can this happen without any notice?

“It’s a very well-used postbox – a special postbox with all the history attached to it.

“But Royal Mail haven’t given people the chance to ask questions and find out whether there will be a replacement.

“This is something that affects the community and the community hasn’t been given the chance to ask the reasons why.”

She added that they would like to find out whether a free-standing postbox will be installed in its place.

Royal Mail spokesman Felicity MacFarlane said: “The postbox in Heaton has been removed as it is on private property.

“The owner of the property has asked us to remove it and we are obliged to remove boxes under these circumstances.”

She added that due to sufficient coverage in the area, a replacement standalone postbox was not being provided.