WILTSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service has issued a stark warning over candle safety in the run-up to Christmas.

A spokesman for the service said people should take heed of the warning and take simple steps to make sure they are safe.

He said to put your candles on a heat-resistant surface, and be especially careful with night lights and tea lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic – TVs are not fire-resistant objects and tea lights can burn right though the plastic.

Make sure candles are held firmly upright by the holder so they won’t fall over; and don’t forget the holder needs to be stable too.

Don’t put candles near curtains, or other fabrics or furniture – and keep them out of draughts.

Don’t put candles under shelves – make sure there’s at least one metre (three feet) between the flame and any surface above it.

Keep clothes and hair away from the naked flame. If there’s any chance you could forget a candle is there and lean across or brush past it, put it somewhere else.

Candles should always be sited out of the reach of children and away from areas that pets can get into.

Extinguish candles before moving them and don’t let anything fall into the hot wax, like matchsticks.

Don’t leave candles burning – you should extinguish candles before you leave a room; never go to sleep with a candle still burning; and never leave a burning candle or oil burner in a child’s bedroom.

Group manager Kathy Collis, from Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety department, said: “Used carefully, candles can be something that will brighten up a room or create an atmosphere but, unfortunately, there is a serious risk that if you don’t take the proper care, they can – and do – destroy your home.

“It only takes a few seconds to be absolutely sure that a candle is safe, so please do follow our advice.”

For a range of home fire safety tips, visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk