A Council's advice to use recyclable brown paper and mistletoe to tie up presents has been questioned, as the popular Christmas plant can be poisonous.

Every household in Blackburn with Darwen has received a new 'Festive guide to bin collections and recycling' ahead of the big day.

On the centre pages it gives advice on how to reduce unrecyclable waste and dispose of Christmas wrappings properly.

Under the headline ' A Bow on Top' it says: "While bows can look pretty they can't be recycled.

"Please removed them before you recycle cards and gift wrap and save them for next year if you can.

"If you want to decorate presents,why not go natural and use brown string and sprigs of mistletoe?"

Lancashire Telegraph: The Council flyerThe Council flyer

The advice alarmed a Blackburn grandmother, as the plant is poisonous and can cause blurred vision, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

While rarely fatal, mistletoe can cause heart problems and seizures and its effects are more serious in small children and animals.

The pensioner contacted her Livesey with Pleasington Conservative Councillor Paul Marrow, who has written to Blackburn with Darwen Council legal boss Asad Laher.

Cllr Marrow's email says: "I have had a resident ring me with concerns regarding the council's 'Festive guide to bin collections and recycling' magazine, which I believe has been distributed to every household.

"In the centre page under the heading 'A Bow on Top', it reads, 'if you want to decorate presents,why not go natural and use brown string and sprigs of mistletoe?'.

Lancashire Telegraph: Mistletoe; good for kissing under, bad for eatingMistletoe; good for kissing under, bad for eating

"My resident was concerned as to why the council is encouraging residents to decorate their presents with a toxic plant and the risk it would present of poisoning if young children or toddlers were to eat the mistletoe berries or leaves from the wrapping of their or family presents (as toddlers have a habit of putting anything in their mouth and may mistake berries as sweets).

"Having advocated the use of mistletoe, if a child is poisoned and hospitalised over Christmas could the council be held liable?"

Cllr Marrow said: "I have yet to receive a reply.

"This is a serious question. I would hate for a small child to be come sick over Christmas because of a piece of unwise council advice.

"Toddlers eat anything and everything."

A Blackburn with Darwen Council spokeswperson declined to comment.