Post offices in Cumbria have urged residents not to boycott their services in the wake of a new ITV drama.

'Mr Bates vs the Post Office' depicts the Horizon scandal, in which a faulty IT system led to prosecutions of fraud, theft and false accounting for postmasters across the UK.

The concern for local outlets is that the outpouring of ill feelings towards the Post Office's role in the miscarriage of justice could lead to present day struggles for their businesses.

Nigel Bartlett, postmaster at Windermere's post office on Crescent Road, said: "We absolutely need all your support.

"Please don’t boycott us to make a point to Post Office Ltd - it will be your local post office that will be affected."

Following the technical fault, more than 700 prosecutions, criminal convictions and, in some cases, prison sentences came about.

Those accused were forced to pay the Post Office money it claimed had gone missing, which meant many lost their jobs, homes and lifesavings.

In 2009, a group of sub-postmasters formed the Justice For Sub-Postmasters Alliance, led by Alan Bates, the titular character of the new show.

It would not be until 2019 when a High Court decreed that 29 bugs, errors and defects were identified in the Horizon systems, exonerating the postmasters of any wrongdoing.

"As I've always said, without you, the customer, we have no business but for the grace of God," Mr Bartlett added.

"It could have easily been any Sub-Postmaster, including me, so here's praying for justice for each and everyone of my colleagues."

The National Federation of SubPostmasters have since released a statement describing the 'harrowing' nature of the drama, but how a boycott would be 'detrimental' to vital local services.

A similar sentiment was shared by the postmaster at Ulverston post office, who said: "Here at Ulverston we rely on the continued support of all our wonderful customers."

'Mr Bates vs the Post Office' aired on ITV 1 on January 1 and is available on catch-up now.