A FARMER has backed calls to ban Chinese lanterns after finding eight of them on land regularly grazed by his sheep.

Thomas Scarr, of Dales View Farm, Sedbergh, believes something must be done in order to remove the risk posed by the floating illuminations which are increasing in popularity and in turn becoming more of a threat to animals.

He found the lanterns, decorated with cartoon images of Santa Claus, across three separate fields on the 62-acre beef and sheep farm, where he has farmed since 1975.

As previously reported in The Westmorland Gazette, the Women’s Food and Farming Union, CLA North, NFU and RSPCA have all asked for the Government to address the problem of the mini-hot air balloons, which are made of paper and wire.

Mr Scarr is the latest in an increasing line of farmers in the region to raise concerns, having found the objects on his land.

Fellow farmers have spotted them in grass due to be mowed.

They fear they could find their way into winter feed through harvest machines and then be eaten by animals.

He said: “It is the first time we have had this many in one go, but we have had a few in the past.

“It was just very fortunate that they landed in fields where the sheep were not grazing at the time.

“They would normally be in those fields but luckily they were else-where, and thankfully we spotted them before they returned.

“I do think they should be banned because they are a real danger. It is a risk.

"If the animals started to chew on them, I would think there is a good possibility they could choke.

“It is all right these folk lighting these lanterns and letting them go, but they do not think about where they might end up.

“We have enough to do without checking every field to see if there are any lanterns which could harm our livestock.”