A COUPLE have called for Chinese lanterns to be banned after waking up on New Year's Day to find one in their garden.

The lantern did not cause any damage but David and Pamela Hodson, of Aston Drive, Poolbrook, Malvern, feel they have had a lucky escape.

“It landed on the grass and must have gone out,” said Mrs Hodson.

“But it’s frightening to think what could have happened.

“It could have landed on our conservatory and melted the plastic. It landed only a few feet away from our patio, with its covered furniture. If it hadn’t been so wet, there would have been a real risk it would have set things on fire.”

Chinese fire lanterns have been blamed for two major fires in the West Midlands region in recent months, and fire chiefs and countryside groups have called for a ban.

Malvern town councillor Martin Lawrence is backing the call.

He said: “While Chinese lanterns remain on sale, residents will not be able to resist them.

“I will contact trading standards and our MP with a request that they consider what can be done.”