Restricted Items


All items must be despatched with suitable packaging for transit.

For each of our services, packaging requirements are detailed in the corresponding Whistl Customer Guide. Items which are not packaged in accordance with the requirements detailed in the Whistl Customer Guide for the service being used will be excluded from compensation for loss or damage.

Whistl will adhere to any legislative changes that affect the delivery of specific items. 

For example the Offensive Weapons Act (due November 2019)

Read more about the act here

The delivery element of the act can be read within Part 3 (38 - 42) - Specific clauses of reference below:

38.Delivery of bladed products to residential premises etc
39.Delivery of bladed products to persons under 18
40.Defences to offence under section 38 or 39
41.Meaning of “bladed product” in sections 38 to 40
42.Delivery of bladed articles to persons under 18

Where applicable for carriage by Whistl or our carriers, the following list of items are excluded from compensation for loss or damage.

Please refer to your Whistl Contract for clarification on which Tracked services compensation is available.

  • Antiques (objects over 100 years old)
  • Any dangerous, hazardous or prohibited goods (as detailed in our Prohibited Goods section)
  • Articles made largely or wholly of gold, silver or other precious metals
  • Items made of or containing glass
  • Ceramic or composite items of any description including without limitation glass, mirrored items, crystal, ceramics, porcelain, plaster, marble, china, stone, slate, resin, granite, concrete (or any item containing these materials)
  • Items which have been strapped together
  • Diamonds and other precious stones with a value in excess of £250
  • Eggs
  • TV's & Monitors
  • Liquid food items or items contained in glass or ceramics - (all liquids are prohibited)
  • Any foods solid or liquid contained in glass or ceramics - (all liquids are prohibited)
  • Frozen food
  • Chilled food
  • Perishable food
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fossils, Stones, Stoneware
  • Furniture (Unless flat packed)
  • Flat packed furniture with sharp metal edges
  • Human and animal remains including, without limitation, ashes
  • Jewelry with a value over £250 or antique items
  • Marble or any stone derivative
  • Bankers' drafts
  • Current bank notes
  • Currency notes or coins
  • Credit cards / debit cards
  • Uncrossed postal orders which do not state to whom they are to be paid
  • Cheques or dividend warrants which are uncrossed and made payable to the bearer
  • Bearer securities including share warrants
  • Scripts or subscription certificates
  • Bonds or relative coupons un-franked postage or revenue stamps (except a revenue stamp embossed or impressed on an instrument which has been executed)
  • Coupons, Vouchers, Tokens, Stamps
  • Lottery tickets, scratch cards or similar

Items which can be exchanged by themselves or with any other item for money or goods or services:

  • National insurance stamps
  • All tickets including travel and events
  • Musical instrument hard cases and suitcases when used as external packaging
  • Musical instruments
  • Negotiable documents
  • Perishable goods
  • Plants, seeds, flowers, and plant derivatives
  • Real fur
  • Resin items, amber and composites
  • SIM cards
  • Watches over £250 or antique items
  • Tobacco and Tobacco products

The following list of prohibited items indicates which items may not be carried by Whistl and where there may be exceptions.

Before despatching an item on a Whistl service, it is the responsibility of the customer to ensure these requirements are adhered to and where exceptions are permitted, that items are despatched in accordance with the corresponding Whistl Customer Guide for the service they will be using.

Prohibited Item Services Description Exceptions & Restrictions
Aerosols Postal Including spray paints, lacquers, solvents, air fresheners, oven cleaners, deodorants, body sprays, hair sprays, shaving and hair removal creams Inhalers with a volume of 50ml or less are allowed.
Aerosols Domestic Courier Unless otherwise prohibited by this guide, Aerosol traffic categorised by ADR via UN1950 can be carried where the originator has met Limited Quantity minimum standards i.e. 1. In accordance to maximum piece, maximum parcel parameters above for declared UN number. 2. Packaged in a way to ensure it can’t be punctured, break or leak. 3. For a UK roads solutions only. Limited Quantity decal MUST be displayed on the outer packing (decal must be 100mm x 100ml – where packaging allows)
Aerosols International Courier Including deodorants, body sprays, hair sprays, shaving and hair removal creams, medicinal aerosols for prevention or cure such as flea sprays, spray paints, lacquers, solvents, air fresheners, oven cleaners, etc
Alcoholic beverages All
Ammunition All
Antiques and art-works All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Apparel and accessories over £250 in value All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Asbestos All Samples of asbestos may be sent on postal services provided the sample is fixed within an inert material such as a glue or resin. Surround with cushioning material e.g. bubble wrap. The sender’s name and returns address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
Blank activated credit cards / debit cards / charge cards or cash dispenser cards and event tickets Courier Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Bullion (or any precious metal) All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Cash-like negotiable instruments in bearer form Courier This would include but not limited to cash, bank notes, currency, vouchers, securities, pre-paid phone cards, activated SIM cards and unused stamps
Balloons - Filled All
Batteries All Batteries that are classed as dangerous goods by the latest edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Technical Instructions are prohibited. This includes lithium[1] ion/polymer/metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation, with or contained in electronic equipment such as mobile phones or digital cameras.Lead acid batteries (e.g. car batteries) and sealed lead acid batteries are also prohibited. On domestic services: Alkaline, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries may only be sent if new and unopened in their original retail packaging. Including household AA and AAA batteries. The batteries must be surrounded with cushioning material e.g. bubble wrap.
Christmas Crackers All On domestic services: Crackers can only be sent in their complete made-up form and in their original retail packaging. An MSDS form should be included.
Clinical and medical waste All For example contaminated dressings, bandages and needles.
Controlled drugs and narcotics All Including cannabis, cocaine, heroin, LSD, opium and amyl nitrate
Corrosive substances All Substances which can cause severe damage to living tissue, other freight or transport by its chemical action are prohibited including aluminium chloride, caustic soda, corrosive cleaning fluid, dyes, acids, corrosive paint and rust removers, mercury and gallium metal.This may also include acids, some paints, caustic soda, some oven cleaners & paint remover.
Costume jewellery over £250 in value All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Counterfeit currency, bank notes and postage stamps All Including any false instrument, or copy of a false instrument (within the meaning of section 5 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981). Except copies of old denominations, which are now obsolete and worthless except for collectable value and cannot be passed as tender.
Designer Goods All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Dry ice All For example UN1845 when used as a coolant for UN3373 or for other perishable items.
Environmental waste All Including used batteries and used engine oil.
Electronic items containing any batteries exceeding 100Wh All Including electric bicycles and some high performance laptops.
Electronic items sent with new alkaline, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries All Domestic services: May be despatched if new and sent unopened in their original retail packaging. Items should be surrounded with sufficient cushioning material to protect each item from damage. Each item, including plugs, should be wrapped individually and placed in a rigid container and cushioned to avoid movement. Any equipment sent with batteries or cells must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and must be packed to prevent accidental activation. An MSDS will be required.
Explosives All Any chemical compound, mixture or device capable of producing an explosive or pyrotechnic effect with substantial instantaneous release of heat and gas is prohibited e.g. ammunition, blasting caps, fireworks, flares, fuses, igniters and nitro-glycerine. Items that appear to be prohibited explosive ordnance may be subject to additional checks and delays.
Flammable liquids All This includes mixtures of liquids or liquids containing solids in solution or suspension which give off a flammable vapour. Any liquid with a closed cup flash point below 60° C is prohibited e.g. acetone, benzene, cleaning compounds, gasoline, lighter fuel, paint thinners and removers, petroleum and solvents, certain alcoholic beverages, perfumes and aftershaves, varnishes and enamels including nail varnish.
Flammable solids All Solid materials which are liable to cause fire by friction, absorption of water, spontaneous chemical changes or retained heat from manufacturing or processing, or which can be readily ignited and burn vigorously e.g. adhesives, calcium carbide, cellulose nitrate products, fire lighters, matches, metallic magnesium, nitro-cellulose based film, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, sodium hydride, zinc powder, zirconium hydride.
Frozen water All Including packs of ice.
Gases All 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.
Goods made in foreign prisons All Domestic services: Except those imported for a non-commercial purpose, of a kind not manufactured in the UK, or those in transit.
Human and animal remains All Including ashes.
Illegal goods All Illegal goods (these are goods which are considered illegal in the origin, the transit points and/or the destination countries and would include but not be limited to pirated goods, counterfeit goods and narcotics)
Infectious substances UN2814 or UN2900 and Pathogens All Category A Infectious Substances are prohibited e.g. Ebola, Anthrax, Foot and Mouth disease as detailed in the latest edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Technical Instructions. For more information please refer to IATA guidelines on infectious substances.Category B substances assigned to UN3373. For example: Blood products, samples. Pathogens in the Risk Group 4 and selected Risk Group 3 listed in Schedule 9, Part 5 of the latest edition of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations are prohibited
Irreplaceable/ unique items All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Ivory and other banned products All
Jewellery and objects constructed of precious metals and/or stones All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Lighters and refills containing flammable liquid or gas All Including used butane and petrol cigar and cigarette lighters. New and unused empty and de-gassed lighters may be sent unopened in their original retail packaging.
Living creatures, animals and reptiles All
Loose precious stones All Including industrial diamonds
Lottery tickets All UK Lottery tickets may be despatched upon Postal services.
Magnetised material Postal & International Courier Magnetised material with a magnetic field strength of 0.418A/m or more at a distance of 4.6m from the outside of the package. Magnetised material which does not exceed these limits should be wrapped in soft packaging at least 2cm thick around each item. The sender’s name and address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
Magnetised material Domestic Courier Magnetised material with a magnetic field strength of 0.159A/m or more at a distance of 2.1m from the outside of the package. Magnetised material which does not exceed these limits should be wrapped in soft packaging at least 2cm thick around each item. The sender’s name and address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
Matches All Of any kind, including safety and windproof matches.
Micro processors All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Mobile telephones and accessories over £250 in value All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Nail varnish and polish All Of any kind, volume or quantity. All flammable and all non-flammable nail varnish and polish are prohibited. Domestic services: Nail Varnish and polish in retail/POS packaging traffic categorised by ADR via UN1263 can be carried by Couriers where the originator has met Limited Quantity minimum standards i.e. • In accordance to maximum piece, maximum parcel parameters above for declared UN number. Packaged in a way to ensure it can’t be punctured, break or leak. For a UK roads solution only. Limited Quantity decal MUST be displayed on the outer packing (decal must be 100mm x 100ml – where packaging allows). An MSDS will also be required.
Non-hazardous liquids All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain domestic Courier services. May not exceed 1ltr on International Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Obscene publications and pornography All Including pornography as detailed in Part 5 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 and indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child as detailed in section 160 and 161 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
Oxidising materials and organic peroxides All These are substances such as disinfectants that may cause or contribute to combustion of other substances. They may also be liable to explosive decomposition, react dangerously with other substances and injure health e.g. bromides, chlorates, components of fibreglass repair kits, disinfectants, nitrates, per chlorates, permanganates and peroxides, including hair dyes and colourants containing peroxide.
Perishable Items All Fresh fruit, vegetables and frozen or chilled foodstuffs Flowers and plants may be despatched with prior agreement from Whistl and our carriers. If agreed, they must be suitably sealed to prevent leakage or tainting of other items such as in sealed vacuum packs. Must be packed in a strong corrugated board box or purpose designed polystyrene pack. Perishable plants or flowers should be able to withstand a journey of up to 48hrs and it is recommended that Next Day services be used.
Perfumes and aftershaves Postal & International Courier Of any kind, volume or quantity. All flammable and all non-flammable perfumes and aftershaves are prohibited.
Perfumes and aftershaves Courier Perfumes and Aftershaves that are classed as flammable are prohibited. Perfume/aftershaves and polish in retail/POS packaging traffic categorised by ADR via UN1266 can be carried where the originator has met Limited Quantity minimum standards i.e. In accordance to maximum piece, maximum parcel parameters above for declared UN number. Packaged in a way to ensure it can’t be punctured, break or leak. For a UK roads solution only. Limited Quantity decal MUST be displayed on the outer packing (decal must be 100mm x 100ml – where packaging allows). An MSDS will be required.
Personal data All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Prescription medicine All All prescription medicines and medicines classified as flammable, toxic or flammable and toxic are prohibited. Domestic services:Over the counter medicine may be despatched when not classified as flammable and/or toxic. An MSDS may be required. International services:Prescription medicines and drugs sent for scientific or medical purposes that are not in liquid form (non-toxic and non-flammable). May only be sent by, or at the specific request of, a qualified medical practitioner, registered dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, registered nurse or a recognized laboratory or institution. The medicines must be accompanied by a prescription and securely closed and placed in a a sift-proof container (for solids). Must be tightly packed in strong outer packaging and must be secured or cushioned to prevent any damage. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
Pesticides All Including weed killer and any chemical that is used to kill pests and insects such as fly sprays.
Poisonous, toxic liquids, solids or gases All Including substances that are liable to cause death or injury if swallowed or inhaled or by skin contact, such as arsenic, beryllium, cyanide, fluorine, rat poison.
Prohibited Item Continued Services Description Exceptions & Restrictions
Radioactive materials All Radioactive materials and samples that are classified as radioactive using Table 2-12 of the latest edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions e.g. fissile material (uranium 235, etc), radioactive waste material, thorium or uranium ores and luminous dials from aircraft.
Sharp objects and Bladed Products All In accordance to the Offensive Weapons Act (Nov 2019) Part 3: 38.Delivery of bladed products to residential premises etc 39.Delivery of bladed products to persons under 18 40.Defences to offence under section 38 or 39 41.Meaning of “bladed product” in sections 38 to 40 42.Delivery of bladed articles to persons under 18 Prohibited: Sharp objects like knives, kitchen utensils and gardening tools may only be posted if they are packaged appropriately so that they are no risk to employees, other packages or recipients. Any bladed article which (a) is or has a blade, and (b) is capable of causing a serious injury to a person which involves cutting that person’s skin
Solvent-based paints, wood varnishes and enamels All Including Gloss paint, varnishes (including nail varnish), enamels and similar substances.
Tickets and related advertisements for illegal lotteries All
Tobacco All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Vehicle Parts Courier Vehicle parts which a weight in excess of 15kg may not be despatched as Large Parcels. No parts may be despatched which contain liquids. Vehicle parts should be despatched in uniform packaging, fully in accordance with Whistl’s guidelines on packaging.
Waste, dirt, filth or refuse All Including household waste or rubbish.
Watches with an individual value over £250 All Prohibited unless agreed with Whistl on certain Courier services. For more information, please discuss with your Whistl Account Manager
Water-based paints, inks, wood varnishes and enamels All
Weapons All Including Section 5 firearms, CS gas and pepper sprays, flick knives, tasers and stun guns. Items that appear to be prohibited weapons may be subject to additional checks and delays. Or any changes to the Offensive Weapons Act (Nov 2019) Part 3: 38.Delivery of bladed products to residential premises etc 39.Delivery of bladed products to persons under 18 40.Defences to offence under section 38 or 39 41.Meaning of “bladed product” in sections 38 to 40 42.Delivery of bladed articles to persons under 18 Prohibited

[1] Lithium batteries contained in equipment are acceptable for carriage when despatched using domestic courier services and must follow a strict packing requirement. The article containing the batteries must packed in a strong rigid packaging, must be secure to prevent any movement and to prevent accidental activation. The name and address of the sender must also be clearly legible.

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