Firefighters are urging people to take extra care as the temperatures fall below freezing.

Ian Bitcon, area manager responsible for fire safety, said: “This time of year poses a number of safety hazards which can be avoided if some simple precautionary steps are taken.

“It is the time of year when people dust off their old heaters and electric blankets to keep warm.

“It is essential that they are regularly checked and used safely. And don’t forget to make sure your smoke alarms are working.

“Unfortunately, the icy conditions and snow make for dangerous driving conditions, so we would urge all motorists to drive appropriately.

“Finally, don’t ever be tempted to walk on frozen waterways, no matter how safe you believe they are.

“Dogs who stray on to frozen lakes often make their own way back to land, but attempting a rescue could easily end in tragedy.”