SUN seekers have been urged to cover up against harmful UV rays - or risk getting skin cancer.

Launching the new campaign, NHS England said more than 60 people in Swindon had been diagnosed with skin cancer in 2017, the latest year for which figures exist.

Dr Michael Marsh, the organisation's south west regional director, said: “You can’t feel UV radiation, so it’s very easy to get sunburnt in the UK, even when it’s cloudy and not particularly warm. Sunburn increases the likelihood of skin cancer so its important people take more care, especially those who work outside or take part in outdoor sport.”

Debbie Stark of Public Health England added: “Although exposure to some sunlight is good for boosting vitamin D levels, people should not overdo it. People who spend more than 15 minutes in the sun on any given day, should apply sun protection factor 15 or higher.

The NHS England campaign follows calls from Swindon's Great Western Hospital and former skin cancer sufferers for people to be mindful of the harm that can be done by spending too long in the sun.

Stuart Plane, 40, of Old Town, said his skin cancer diagnosis came as a complete shock: “I have always been very careful around the sun, I apply plenty of sun cream and generally keep covered up.” The dad recommended others take precautions to prevent overexposure to the sun’s UV rays, but said over-worrying would not help: “My consultant said to me at the time: don’t be scared of the sun. I think it’s like anything in life. If you enjoy it, enjoy it in moderation and be body-conscious.”

Tina Phillips, a Macmillan skin cancer clinical nurse specialist at GWH, urged people to regularly check themselves for the common signs of skin cancer: “People should also check their skin from top to toe, including nails, on a monthly basis and seek medical advice if moles change shape or colour, have an irregular outline, get bigger, start to itch or bleed.”