England

Rise in dog attacks on postal workers, Royal Mail says

Dog and letterbox
Image caption The Royal Mail said dog attacks on postal workers had become more severe

The number of postal workers being bitten by dogs in the south of England is increasing, according to figures released by the Royal Mail.

In 2013/14, 120 more postal workers were bitten than in the previous year.

In the PO postcode covering Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, there were 28 attacks in 2012/3 and 46 last year, the highest rise in the south.

Russell Dawson, a postman for 11 years, said he had been bitten five times and had lost the top of his finger.

Mr Dawson, from Dorset, said of the most severe attack in 2011: "I didn't realise there was a dog in the house, I went to push a letter through and there was a big thump on the door.

"When I pulled my hand out I realised the top of my finger had gone."

Image caption Russell Dawson still works as a postman despite having lost the top of his finger

Attacks on postal workers also increased in the PO, SO, DT, GU and SP postcode areas.

Ian Stockdale, head of health and safety management for Royal Mail, said: "There are a lot of times when we are on people's premises, in their gardens.

"Put that together that dogs, like most animals, are territorial in nature. That's where the risk arises."

The Royal Mail has been identifying high risk properties, holding dog awareness briefings and supplying posting pegs, which are used to open letter boxes, to try to tackle the problem.

In the UK, there were 3,300 attacks between April 2013 and 2014, an 8% increase on the year before.

Royal Mail said the severity of the attacks were also getting worse.

There was a decrease in the BH, SN, BN, OX, RG and SL areas and the number stayed the same in the BA postcode region.

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