Following reports of a large quantity of discarded litter strewn across Hartlebury Common over the weekend, including cigarette ends and glassware, with their huge fire risk, Hereford and Worcester Fire & Rescue Service is urgently reminding people to take extreme care as the heatwave continues.

Besides these items, volunteer litter pickers have reported collecting an enormous variety of refuse on the Common which has clearly been abandoned since the recent fire - including discarded food packaging, empty tins, coffee cup and even footballs – with most of the glass being found on the blackened sections where fires have already taken place.

Much of this packaging and other waste material is combustible – with the potential to spark off more fires on terrain that remains tinder-dry. This applies particularly to cigarette ends which may not be completely extinguished when discarded, and bottles and glasses which are known to concentrate sunshine on to dry vegetation and ignite fires with astonishing speed.

Group Commander Thom Morgan, of the HWFRS Protection department said: “It is highly unfortunate that litter continues to be dropped in large quantities despite the many reminders we’ve issued about the dangers this causes. We’ve seen how easily fires can be ignited and take hold over very wide areas in just a few minutes, with their huge impact on people’s safety and property.

“I would urge people not to discard litter of any kind, and above all please don’t take disposable barbecues out into the countryside. Have fun on our open spaces but please behave responsibly and remove all litter, either by disposing of it in official waste bins or taking it home with you.”

“Further information on how to stay safe and avoid causing fires or other incidents is on our website at Safety and advice | Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service. “We’re grateful to the public for their support on this. Above all, stay safe!”