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Royal Mail chief urges owners to keep pets indoors

The chairman of Royal Mail has urged people to keep their pets under control to help tackle the surge in the number of postal workers being attacked.

We know that most dogs are not inherently dangerous, however, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is being threatened.

Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers.

We appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature.

It can also be simple things that help - for example just making sure the dog is kept inside when the postman calls.

– Donald Brydon, Royal Mail chairman

Surge in dog attacks on posties across the Midlands

The number of dogs attacking postmen has rocketed across the Midlands over the past year - with Royal Mail warning of a seasonal surge in attacks during the summer holidays.

In the East Midlands, a total of 156 attacks were reported between April 2013 and April this year - an increase of 71 per cent on the year before.

And in the West Midlands, the number of attacks rose 27 per cent - up to 173 - in the same time period.

The number of dog attacks on postal workers has rocketed over the past year, according to the Royal Mail Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA

Both regions dwarfed the national average increase of just eight per cent.

Royal Mail has now launched Dog Awareness Week, starting today, in the hope of increasing understanding of the problem of dog attacks on postal workers as well as members of the public.

Bosses say the number of attacks tends to peak during the summer school holidays.

Caught red-handed: How million-pound fraudster was stopped

A Royal Mail worker from Handsworth, who has been jailed for seven years after conspiring to commit fraud amounting to £1.2million, was caught following a joint investigation by West Midlands Police, Royal Mail and the banks who fell victim.

The defendant, Paul Akuda, was caught stealing chequebooks from Royal Mail's central sorting depot, in Birmingham, where he worked... Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Seven years into Paul Akuda's employment at the company's central sorting depot in Birmingham, in November 2010, the Royal Mail Investigations Department noted a spike in the loss or theft of mail at the site and immediately launched an internal investigation.

Subsequently, Mr Akuda was identified as a result of surveillance, seen taking post from an area of the depot, putting the stolen items into a carrier bag and leaving the depot.

Mr Akuda is found to have stolen up to five-hundred chequebooks in fraud amounting to £1.2million... Credit: PA

After being notified, Police then recovered thirty-eight stolen chequebooks following a search of his property in Handsworth, Birmingham, along with four from his bag and two more from his work locker.

The chequebooks were stolen over a seven month period - between October 2010 and May 2011 - and used in fraud amounting to losses of over £1million to a number of banks.

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Fraudster "key" to criminal enterprise

A man charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and jailed for seven years, has been described as "key" to a criminal enterprise resulting in losses of over £1million to a number of banks.

Following an investigation by Royal Mail and West Midlands Police, Paul Akuda was observed carrying out the theft of chequebooks from Royal Mail's central sorting depot in Birmingham and was subsequently arrested and charged for his part in the crime.

Kerry Moreton, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said Mr Akuda from Handsworth, abused his position of trust within the Royal Mail:

Mr Akuda began a campaign of dishonesty against his employers which resulted in innocent members of the public having their chequebooks stolen and money taken out of their bank accounts...

Over a seven month period, Akuda stole cheque books from the sorting depot where he worked and then sold these books on to third parties who would then use them in fraudulent transactions...

Although his illegal activities resulted in losses of over a £1million to a number banks, there was no evidence to suggest that Akuda was more deeply involved in the frauds than acting as the original thief and supplier of the chequebooks, but his actions were key to the whole enterprise and without which the rest of the fraud could not have taken place.

Postal worker jailed for £1.2million fraud

A postal worker from Handsworth, in Birmingham, has been jailed for seven years after he was found guilty of conspiring to commit fraud amounting to losses of £1.2million.

The theft of hundreds of cheque books took place at a sorting office in Birmingham... Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

64-year-old Paul Akuda worked at the Royal Mail's central sorting depot at Mail Centre, St Stephens Street in Birmingham, from November 2003 until his suspension on 26 May 2011.

An investigation found that over five-hundred chequebooks were stolen from the depot between October 2010 and May 2011 alone, most of which Mr Akuda is deemed responsible for.

Although he received little financial benefit from the crime hiimself, his actions resulted in losses of over a £1million to a number banks, according to the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service.

Men arrested after Walsall robbery near bank

A bag, thought to be full of cash, was lying near the Audi car earlier today Credit: John Robinson

Two men have been arrested in Walsall this afternoon as police continue hunt masked men who robbed a man near a local bank.

Police were called at 1.20pm today after three men jumped out of an Audi car and grabbed a bag containing a large amount of cash from a man who had just visited HSBC on New Road, Willenhall.

Police, in an unmarked police car, forced the Audi to stop. All of the occupants fled the vehicle and two were detained nearby.

The two arrested men, aged 20 and 26 are still in police custody.

Eyewitness: 'Armed robbery in Walsall'

The bag is believed to be a Royal Mail bag Credit: John Robinson

An armed robbery is believed to have taken place in Walsall near Stafford Street at the junction with Croft Street.

An eyewitness said two black cars and a big red bag full of cash, believed to belong to the Royal Mail, were involved.

A police helicopter is currently circling the area.

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