At least she could say there was no breakages when she got it home.

But grandmother Lynn Aconley was still left scratching her head in bemusement when a matching dining set she ordered from Marks and Spencer had to be taken home in TWENTY NINE separate boxes.

Lynn, 61, had ordered extra bowls and plates for her 26 piece china dinner service and decided to collect it herself from her local store in the belief she would be given one large parcel to put in her car.

But a stock room computer picked up her order as ''separates'' and as a result the retired primary school teacher from Rainhill, Merseyside, was shocked to find the customer collection point was piled high with boxes - all of which contained her order.

It is thought the computer had clocked the fact Mrs Aconley ordered each item individually rather than as a set itself as she required more pieces from the same range to serve six people. As a result staff at the store were ordered to package each bowl, plate, and cup in individual boxes as if they were being sold separately. Three further boxes were then used to store some of the smaller parcels.

It was so excessive Mrs Aconley spent over an hour unpacking the £139 service set from the retailer’s Manhattan range which in its original set serves four people.

She said: “I would have thought that as the order came from the same customer on the same day and from the same range it would be common sense to anyone that they should all go into fewer boxes - instead of all these separate ones. Just imagine what it would have been like if I had wanted to serve ten. To get extreme packaging like this seems so unnecessary.”

M&S said: “Our aim is to keep packaging at a minimum whilst ensuring it protects the items inside – as crockery is fragile, when ordered individually we wrap it in recycled cardboard to prevent breakages. We are always looking at ways to improve and, since 2009, we have reduced delivery packaging by 60%, and all of it is recyclable and made from recycled materials.”

Cavendish Press' coverage of the story went in the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror. If you have a story please contact us on 0161 237 1066 or email [email protected] We'd like to hear from you.