COUNCIL bosses are planning to ban Chinese sky lanterns from being let off to avoid precious crops going up in smoke.

Tendring Council leader Mick Page wants to stop people letting off the lanterns from council-owned property, and will urge parish and town council in the area to follow suit.

Great Bentley Parish Council has already taken steps to stop releases after a number were launched their village green and Mr Page believes it could help to avert a potential disaster.

“This is a very serious and worrying subject and I totally applaud Great Bentley Parish Council for taking steps to ban lanterns from land it owns,” he said.

“No one wants to be a killjoy but we are talking about people’s livelihoods and it is especially important over the next month as crops will be coming up to harvest."

Jim McNair owns farmland in Horsley Cross, and although he has not experienced any problems with the lanterns as yet, he supports the council’s move.

“If they were lit and there was a prevailing wind then there could be a big problem,” said Mr McNair.

“If they get into a large field then they are going to spread quickly and it could go on for miles and could end up affecting houses or other buildings."