A community farm in Laverstock is warning of the dangers to animals and the fire risk posed by letting off sky lanterns.

River Bourne Community Farm says it had a report of a group of people setting off lanterns over its fields on Friday night (August 5).

Sara-Jane Hancock, the farm’s education and marketing manager said: “You have no idea which way they are going to go or where they are going to land.

"It is ridiculous, the fields are dry as old boots. Animals can get tangled up in the wire when it eventually falls to ground, wherever that may be.”

To let lanterns off in this hot weather when fields are dry she described as “unbelievable irresponsible” adding: “It could have set any of the parched fields on fire which could have animals in them.”

Sara-Jane says she would like to see sky lanterns banned because of the potential dangers and damage they can cause not only to fields, buildings and animals but also farm machinery.

She said: “We’ve said before how we hate the use of these lanterns because of the way animals can get harmed by the fallen wire debris, but to do this over our parched fields is unbelievably stupid and dangerous.”

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people to take extra care as the hot weather is set to continue.

Group manager Dave Waters said: “The lack of rain means the ground is really dry, and any fire will spread even more quickly than usual as a result.

"The risk is as great in your garden as it is on a heathland but taking extra care, and perhaps doing things a bit differently to usual, can make a huge difference to staying safe.”

The fire service has issued the following advice:

• Don’t have a bonfire at home while the conditions are so dry. If it’s absolutely necessary, make sure you have a garden hose to hand in case it starts to get out of control; site it well away from fencing, trees and property; never use petrol or another accelerant to get it started; and don’t leave it unattended.

• Barbecue coals and fire pits stay hot for hours, so douse them with water and don’t dispose of the remnants until you are sure they are cold.

• Don’t have barbecues or campfires on heath or in open spaces

• Extinguish cigarettes properly, and don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows