Marks and Spencer has announced a nationwide ban on a popular summer item in stores across the UK.

The retailer has confirmed disposable barbecues will no longer be on sale in M&S stores in a “precautionary step” amid a string of heatwaves in England and Wales.

A tweet from the official M&S account said: "We'd already stopped selling disposable barbecues near national parks and in London but given the unusually hot and dry conditions, we've taken the precautionary step of removing them from sale across the UK."

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BBQ warning ahead of UK heatwave

The move comes as firefighters warn there is an increased risk of fires due to the heatwave.

In the last five years, London’s firefighters have attended almost 600 fires involving barbecues - 45 of which were on private balconies.

The Brigade’s assistant commissioner for fire safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: “We want people to enjoy the glorious weather and do so safely.

“Barbecuing on dry grass is reckless and can easily cause a really serious fire – damaging the immediate area and risking nearby properties.

“We’re also urging people to think twice about having barbecues on balconies.

“It’s easier than you might think for a balcony fire to spread to others, which could not only leave you homeless but displace hundreds of your neighbours too.

“We’re not trying to take the fun out of the heatwave, but for the sake of our city – and of our firefighters who have to work in sweltering temperatures to tackle these blazes – we’d really like people to take our advice on board.

“We’re asking the public to remain vigilant and call 999 as soon as they see any signs of smouldering grass.”

The London Fire Brigade appeared to praise the move from M&S, tweeting: "We want to work with retailers to stop the sale of disposable barbecues and reduce the risk of dangerous grass fires.”

Temperatures are set to rise to the mid-30s in parts of southern England as high pressure brings more hot, dry weather, following months of low rainfall which have left the country facing the spectre of drought.

The conditions have left the countryside, as well as urban parks and gardens, extremely dry, raising the risk of more devastating wildfires, with rivers, groundwater and reservoirs at low levels.