A Prudhoe man said his feet were 'on fire' after coming into contact with Giant Hogweed while walking his dog.

John Robson, 61, was walking on land near to the allotments and Broomhouse Lane when he came into contact with the poisonous plant.

When he returned  home, John - who was wearing shorts and sandals for his walk - said blisters began to appear on his feet and ankles.

Within hours he had a fever and felt so unwell he went to A & E to be checked over.

Four days after he brushed against the giant hogweed, John, a children's entertainer, said: "I'm still suffering. I feel queasy with little appetite - it has really floored me.

"My feet and ankles have swelled up and they are completely stiff."

John said he took the dog out at around 10pm on Sunday evening, when temperatures had cooled down. 

He walked the path he often takes, which is a 'permissive footpath' belonging to Northumberland Estates.

He said: "The land has not been maintained well. They have come out occasionally with a tractor and mower and taken the vegetation down, but residents have complained about weeds and rodents for some time."

John was prescribed antibiotics to treat the effects of giant hogweed, but said he did not appreciate how serious the plant was.

The toxic plant can grow up to five metres tall and cause blistering that lasts for months. It also causes the skin to be highly sensitive to sunlight and blistering can reoccur over months or even years after contact.

John, a children's entertainer, said: " I walk on there with my four-year-old grandson all the time, in his shorts and Tshirt. I keep thinking 'what if it had happened to a child?' 

"I think these marks could take months to heal. They are pretty severe. It is like having a burn or a scold."

John reported the incident to Northumberland Estates, who have since been out to tackle the issue.

A spokesperson said: "We were made aware of the issue yesterday. Someone has been out to investigate this morning and it is being dealt with as a matter of urgency."