A POSTMAN who has been bitten five times while on his rounds in Pendle has urged customers to keep their dogs under control.

Thirty-four year-old James Thurston has seen his fingertips savaged and his ankles nipped while trying to deliver mail to customers across the borough.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has led calls for tougher restrictions on dangerous dogs - after his mother Ann had to undergo plastic surgery when her fingertip was bitten off while she was delivering election materials.

But Mr Stephenson has said he will continue to lobby for more responsible dog ownership after meeting James and colleagues at Nelson’s Stanworth Road mail centre yesterday.

James, who has been a postman for around 10 years and lives in Barrowford, said: “I have been bitten around five times.

“Some of the time it has been my fingers, when I’ve been delivering letters, and other times it’s been when I’ve gone around a corner and there’s a dog there, and then I’ve been bitten.

“It’s mostly been Jack Russell terriers, to be honest. None of the bites have been serious but I’ve had to keep my tetanus jabs up-to-date.”

“Some of the time the dogs are fine with you on the path but then become aggressive when you get to the front door.

“There are a number of things which people can do, like putting a guard behind the door or warning signs up.”

He was speaking as Royal Mail launched a month-long awareness campaign, urging customer to help reduce the risk for staff.

Postal workers are even being issued with spatulas, in certain cases, to assist them in delivering letters.

Mr Stephenson said: “The government has recently tightened up the laws around dangerous dogs and out-of-control dogs.

“However from speaking with postal workers today it is clear that more still needs to be done to protect people.

“But one of the changes which have been made is to make dog attacks on private property a criminal offence, for which householders can be prosecuted.”

Mohammed Desai, Royal Mail area safety manager, said that the company worked with dog wardens to identify potential problem addresses - and mail can be suspended from a property or area if difficulties persist.