Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun is the famous line from a Noel Coward song.

It highlighted the attitudes of locals in tropical climes when they saw Brits ignoring the usual practice of taking a long, cool siesta in the middle of the day.

It’s true that here in this country we like nothing better than enjoying a day out in the sun - probably because there are so few precious days when we have the opportunity to do so.

The recent welcome spell of scorching hot weather, which saw temperatures up in the 80s, has, however, elicited a touch of ‘madness’ among some people, in which their normal sense of reasonable behaviour and self-preservation seem to have flown out of the window.

The soaring temperatures equalled chaos on Sunday, when hundreds of sunbathers, swimmers and picnic-goers piled into Kirkby Lonsdale for one of the hottest days of the year.

The town's beauty spot, Devil's Bridge, was unable to cope with the sheer amount of people and traffic.

It resulted in drivers illegally parking their vehicles on pavements and stretches of the town's A-road, while piles of litter were strewn around Jubilee Field and people were spotted tombstoning into the River Lune.

A team of litter collectors had to clean up mess left behind by revellers. At least ten black bin bags were filled with the rubbish.

Even more seriously, sun-lovers have been taking their lives in their hands this week by venturing out on to the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay.

The sands might look inviting and safe on a hot, summer’s day but fast-moving tides, quicksand and shifting channels mean they are potentially lethal to anyone without an intimate knowledge of the environment.

Coastguards and inshore rescue teams have been exceedingly busy all week dealing with dozens of incidents of people straying out on to the sands and putting themselves in danger.

There have been numerous rescues and it is clear that there could have been fatalities if not for concerned onlookers alerting the rescue services, which then sprang into action.

The message cannot go out strongly enough - the bay is beautiful but it’s also very dangerous.