POSTAL workers have been left with permanent and disabling injuries from dog attacks, with than 1,600 incidents reported in the last year.

A total of 1,673 attacks were recorded across the UK, according to Royal Mail - an average of 32 a week.

Sheffield had the most incidents reported during the year to March 31, 2022, with 51 posties suffering dog attacks, closely followed by Belfast with 50 and Tunbridge Wells with 44.

This was followed by the BN postcode in Brighton, which saw 37 dog attacks on Royal Mail’s delivery staff – the same amount Nottingham and Swansea.

The NE (Newcastle) and OX (Oxford) postcode areas saw 35 each.

As in previous years, the majority of dog attacks, 654 (39 per cent), took place at the front door.

A further 498 (30 per cent) took place in the garden, driveway or yard, while 134 (8 per cent) took place in the street or road.

There were also 387 injuries suffered through letterboxes – accounting for 23 per cent of attacks on postal workers.

Letterbox attacks were the subject of a 2020 High Court ruling that stated dog owners can be prosecuted if their pets have free access to the letterbox and cause injury, whether the owner is at home or not.

The total number of attacks dropped 1 per cent from 2020/2021, making it the second year running Royal Mail has reported a reduction in dog attacks on its staff.

The year 2020/2021 saw a 31 per cent decline, which is thought to have been a result of contact-free deliveries during the pandemic.

Dave Joyce, national health and safety officer of Communication Workers’ Union said: “Dog attacks remain a major safety hazard and concern for postmen and women across the UK and the scale of the problem shouldn’t be underestimated.

“I have written to the Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Secretary of State George Eustice calling for a meeting to discuss what more the Government and police can do to toughen up the dog control laws – such is my concern.”

The figures are published as Royal Mail launches Dog Awareness week, to help promote dog safety.

Some attacks can have a devastating impact.

Julie Mundy, based in Cheshire, spent five days in hospital, was off work for three months and suffered from post-traumatic stress after her ordeal in 2019.

The postwoman of 19 years said a customer tried to hold the dog back, but it got away and dove at her, causing her to stumble backwards and fall on the ground, breaking her hip.

“By then the dog was on top of me but I couldn’t move – but I didn’t realise at that point I had broken my hip. The customer came and dragged the dog off me and another neighbour from across the road came over to help,” she said.

“My arm was bleeding where the dog had bitten me because I had been trying to cover my face. The neighbour from across the road cleaned me up and bandaged my arm and called an ambulance. I had to remain on the floor in the garden as I couldn’t walk.”

She added: “Following the attack, I have suffered from post-traumatic stress. As soon as I hear a barking dog, I freeze. It never used to bother me that much but I’m not as confident as I used to be.”