HARD-pressed firefighters are pleading with people not to light bonfires in their gardens during the finer weather.

Crews have been called out to an increasing number of incidents caused by bonfires in recent weeks.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "With the weather set to be mild and sunny throughout the Bank Holiday weekend, far more of us will be spending time outside in the garden.

"That increase is expected because of the restrictions on movement due to coronavirus.

"Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has had additional pressures and challenges since the virus outbreak.

"Firefighters have had to attend an increasing number of call-outs to bonfires over the last two weeks."

The service is urging people to compost rather than burn garden waste; follow the guidance on social distancing; and test home smoke alarms to ensure they are working.

Laura Pratt, community safety prevention manager at DSFRS, said: "We are urging everyone to be more aware of the demands on fire services and the additional fire risks that so much time at home can bring, and to take steps to protect yourself and your family."