A disposable barbecue from a recycling bin caused a fire in an East Hampshire District Council bin lorry earlier today, causing severe delays to collection rounds.

A crew working in Clanfield spotted smoke billowing from the back of the collection vehicle. They quickly called the fire brigade, which controlled the fire at the scene and then followed the truck back to its Petersfield depot.

There the entire ten-ton collection, almost a full load, was tipped and then doused with water to ensure the fire was properly extinguished.

Once wet it could not be recycled, so it was loaded back into the truck by a telehandler and sent for incineration.

The incident meant the round was suspended, resulting in hundreds of bins not being collected. Those collections will now take place tomorrow.

East Hampshire District Council leader Cllr Richard Millard said: "It's really important that people are very careful when they throw away disposable barbecues. The coals can stay hot and smouldering for several days and when mixed with the dry paper and cardboard in our recycling lorries they can easily reignite.

"Thankfully this incident wasn't as serious as it could have been and no-one was hurt, but it has meant a heavy delay in today's collections thanks to one person's stupidity."

People whose bins were not collected today should leave them out and the crews will make "every effort" to collect them tomorrow.