A ST HELENS postcode has been recorded as having one of the highest number of XL Bully dogs across the country.

With a growing number of XL Bully attacks across the country, the breed was the first to be banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act for more than 20 years at the start of the year.

Before the legislation was introduced, a petition to ban the breed was created in Newton-le-Willows, after several serious incidents were reported across the borough.

This included an XL Bully that attacked three women and three dogs in Newton-le-Willows, an attack of a Border Collier in Sutton, and the fatal tragedy involving one-year-old Bella-Rae Birch in Blackbrook.

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With the legislation introduced at the start of the year, all XL Bully owners must apply for a Certificate of Exemption and keep the dog on a lead and muzzle in public.

As the breed now has to be registered, The Spectator submitted a a freedom of information request to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, to find out where the 50,000 registered XL Bully dogs live in England and Wales. 

The data shows that the WA9 postcode in St Helens, including Clock Face, Sutton, and Thatto Heath, has the tenth highest number of XL Bully applications out of 2,424 postcodes across England and Wales, with 156 registered dogs.

The L35 postcode, including Prescot, Whiston, and Rainhill, was ranked 58th with 94 approved XL Bully applications.

The WA10 postcode, including St Helens town centre, Eccleston, and West Park, was ranked 97th with 81 registered XL Bully dogs on the government's database.

The WA11 postcode, including Crank, Haydock, Moss Bank, and Rainford, was ranked 106th with 78 approved XL Bully applications.

The WA12 postcode, including Newon-le-Willows and Earlestown, was ranked 256th with 55 approved XL Bully applications.

The WN4 postcode, including Garswood and Ashton-in-Makerfield, was ranked 503rd with 38 approved XL Bully applications.

Other neighbouring areas with a high percentage of XL Bullies included Runcorn with 182 XL Bullies (3rd), Widnes and Cronton with 174 XL Bullies (5th), and Huyton and Roby with 173 XL Bullies (6th).

The areas with the highest number of XL Bully registrations is Croydon in London with 219 XL Bullies, and an area of Sheffield with 189 XL Bullies.