Fire chiefs have warned people to stop flying drones over Darwen Moor as a helicopter helping to extinguish the blaze, which has been burning for almost two days, had to be grounded.

Posting on Twitter on Monday afternoon a spokesperson for the fire service said the drone was making it too dangerous for helicopters to fly over the site and drop water onto the smouldering land.

The spokesperson said: "We have had reports that there is a drone flying above Darwen Moor.

"This is making it too dangerous for the helicopters to fly which are helping us extinguish the fire.

"Please avoid the area and keep drones away from the scene for the safety of yourself and others."

Bolton Mountain Rescue Team also issued a warning, posting on their Facebook page that the forced landing was "massively hampering the firefighting effort."

The post added: "Don't fly your drones anywhere near Darwen Tower, Turton Moor, Earnsdale Reservoir or Belmont Reservoir.

"A drone has been spotted today, flying over the moor. Because of this, the helicopter that's meant to be dropping water onto the moor has been forced to land for safety reasons.

"This is massively hampering the firefighting effort. Do not fly your drones anywhere near these locations."