Rail users were greeted with a strange sight outside Dartford station this morning – a post box being painted pink.

A man was seen applying the vivid paint to the box as bemused commuters passed by.

But it wasn’t some act of broad daylight vandalism or part of any Royal Mail campaign, as when pillar boxes were painted gold in honour of Team GB Olympic champions in 2012.

It turns out every box needs a lick of paint roughly every four years and this one will only be looking pretty in pink as long as its various undercoats take to try before the familiar red can be re-applied.

Royal Mail spokeswoman Sally Hopkins said: “The box is just getting a few coats of primer before it gets the red.

“It’s part of a cycle of repainting all Royal Mail boxes.

“They are generally done within a day so they don’t have to be out of use for customers for very long.

“Obviously we don’t want customers using them when they are wet because they will get paint on themselves and their post and get fingerprints on them.”