DISPOSABLE barbecues should be banned, according to a councillor sick of finding fire damage in Swindon's open spaces.

Old Town councillor Jane Milner-Barry found ash and charring to grass at Great Copse, near Nationwide, and a fire-damaged bench at Lawn Woods.

She said: “It’s not just appallingly unsightly, these barbecues present a serious fire risk, especially now that we typically get longer and hotter dry periods in our summers.

“They’re very dangerous and people tend to put them on benches which get singed. They can be responsible for causing some really massive fires."

Cllr Milner-Barry is calling for more to be done to tackle the problem and is even questioning if disposable barbecues should be sold at all.

“It is a shame because in some parks they’re forbidden and I do think it would be better if they were banned.”

She has written to her local Co-op supermarket, which told her it was making changes to the packaging and advice issued with disposable barbecues.

She is also worried about the environmental impact and danger to wildlife.

“Everybody stocks them. Customers should contact supermarkets and suggest they stop stocking them,” said Coun Milner-Barry.

“A year ago, disposable barbecues were blamed for causing a large wildfire in Dorset. Wildfires release CO2, destroy wildlife and put at risk the lives of firefighters and the public.

“People really must be careful but they can be used responsibly. If people want to use them they should take them away and don’t leave them but also make sure it’s out.”

A Swindon Borough Council spokesperson said: “Damaging property and the grass in Lawn Woods is unacceptable and those involved should be ashamed of themselves.

“We understand that when the weather is nice people want to enjoy BBQs in our amazing natural parks but they should not cause unnecessary damage to their surroundings. We would urge people to take care if using disposable units and ask them to take any rubbish home with them and dispose of it in a safe manner."

“There are no specific rules in place in regards to the use of disposable BBQs at Lawn Woods or the Great Copse."

“However, any camping stoves or cookers in any area around the town must be properly assembled and disposed of.”

A spokesperson from DW Fire & Rescue Service said: “Disposable barbecues and campfires are banned on heathland, in forests and in many other high-risk areas across Dorset and Wiltshire.

“The service is urging people to bring picnics instead, with a social media campaign called #BringAPicnicNotABBQ. As a service, we don’t encourage the use of disposable barbecues anywhere other than your own garden.”

If you do use a disposable barbecue:

• It must be placed on an even surface on either bricks or paving slabs.

• Place disposable barbecues well away from the house, shed or fences.

• If you’re using a disposable barbecue ensure it has cooled before putting it in the bin. To avoid starting a fire you should allow it to cool for several hours and then consider pouring water over it to make sure it’s out.