DOG owners in and around Malvern are being urged to keep their animals under control to prevent them attacking postmen.

MP Harriett Baldwin visited the town's sorting office on Abbey Road to meet postmen who have had to fend off canine attacks and support the Royal Mail's campaign against dog attacks.

While she was there, she met postman Ian Palmer, who has been attacked four or five times during his 18-year careers delivering mail around Malvern.

"I had a lucky escape a couple of weeks ago," he said. "I was delivering to this one house and there was no answer at the front door, so I went round the back, because a lot of people are out in their gardens with the hot weather.

"There were two dogs, one quite placid, but the other was a little terrier thing, which went straight for me. I was lucky to get out of there."

Mr Palmer, aged 37, said probably three-quarters of postmen in Malvern have suffered a dog attack some time in their careers.

"I've been bitten four or five times. The first time, the owner opened the door and this terrier came straight out and bit me on the leg. I've still got the scar," he said.

Mrs Baldwin said “Part of my job involves knocking on doors so I completely sympathise with postal staff who have been attacked by dogs as their do their work.

“A recent change in legislation means that dog owners are responsible for injury caused by their animals even if it happens on private property.

“It is only fair that posties should be able to deliver the mail in safety so I urge all pet owners to act responsibly and help to reduce the number of incidents both locally and across the UK.”

The Royal Mail recorded 42 incidents in West Worcestershire last year and 3,300 were reported across the UK. Local staff have attended courses in dog psychology to help spot dogs which may pose a threat.