Anyone living on Liskey Hill Crescent in Perranporth, Cornwall, will have to collect their letters from the nearest Post Office, because Royal Mail employees have refused to deliver post to the street any more. Its excuse is the seagulls - which dive-bomb any passing pedestrians.
But how much trouble can a seagull really be, and can Royal Mail get away with this?
The birdsThe Royal Mail told the Daily Telegraph that this isn't just a few 'scary' birds. The gulls have actually injured a postwoman trying to deliver post, after they pecked at her head. They say that there are genuine health and safety concerns, so they have had to suspend deliveries.
The gulls are apparently protecting their chicks, and have grown increasingly aggressive over the past few weeks. The residents agree they are a pest, and one told This Is Cornwall that they particularly attack those wearing red, which is a problem for Royal Mail Staff. Red is thought to be a target because adult gulls have a splash of red at the base of their beak, which the young are encouraged to peck when the adult holds out food.
AcceptableHowever, Royal Mail is perfectly within its rights. It has the power to suspend deliveries where it believes the safety of its employees is at risk - or where there has been an incident where a member of staff has been threatened. It can introduce a temporary suspension - or refuse to deliver completely. Typically at any moment in time, it has decreed 0.1% of homes in the UK to be out of bounds.
In fact last June it stopped deliveries to some homes in Muirfield Road in New Elgin as nesting seagulls were attacking a post woman trying to deliver to the properties. It resumed deliveries a few weeks later. The same fate befell the residents of one street in Bexhill-On Sea in Sussex in 2010.
Dangerous roadsAnd it's not just the gulls. All kinds of animals can fall foul of the postie. At the end of last year the Royal Mail stopped deliveries to one road in Chippenham because a flea infestation threatened the postman. Then in February this year it decreed an estate in Little Hulton out of bounds, because an aggressive dog was being around to roam the streets.
The garden can be your downfall too. One 82-year-old in West Yorkshire was told in November last year that deliveries would be permanently suspended in wet weather because the path to her property was too slippy. And a couple of years ago a retired banker from Bury St Edmunds had his deliveries suspended because his garden was overgrown.
It's a wonder that many of us can make it down the garden path in one piece - let alone all the way to the post office to collect the post.