A DELIVERY driver was “worked to death” after taking up to 240 Christmas packages a day to homes.
Dad-of-two Paul Crush, 42, collapsed at his UPS depot following a punishing 12-hour shift.
Pals last night accused company bosses of pushing the mild-mannered grafter too far.
He was among 120 delivery staff said to be facing pressure to hit targets at the UPS hub in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex.
Staff said drivers usually take around 100 parcels a day, but Paul had been delivering more than 200 since the Christmas rush started six weeks ago.
Paul, who with overtime made around £30,000 a year, collapsed in the car park after work on Wednesday. It is thought he had a massive heart attack. A post-mortem is due.
One pal said: “I saw him having coffee before he started his shift and he looked tired and said it had been a struggle for him to get out of bed — but he was as cheerful as ever.
“That was his problem. He was the kind of guy who would never say no to extra work.
“He’ll have died of natural causes but his mates who knew him think he’s been worked to death.
"He’s been going flat out for about six weeks, harder than any other driver. There is a league table among the UPS delivery hubs and Stanford is towards the top. Bosses want to keep it that way.”
An ex-colleague, 55, said: “Everyone loved Paul. Nothing was too much trouble for him. He’d always help out.”
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Paul’s widow Tracy, 40, of Chelmsford, Essex, was said to be “beside herself with grief”.
UPS said last night: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our fellow UPSer. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.”
Police said the death was not suspicious. Paul’s pals launched a fundraising page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-the-crush-family