A HENLEY woman has warned of the dangers of using “lethal” Chinese lanterns after the remnants of one landed in her garden.
Claudia Rowberry, of Reading Road, says she fears what could have happened if the three-foot lantern had landed elsewhere.
“I couldn’t help but think of all the possible consequences — there are so many maybes, ifs and what-might-have-beens,” she said.
“These lanterns are extremely dangerous, especially in rural areas where there are barns and livestock. They are dangerous for man and beast and buildings. If it fell on your car windowscreen as you were driving, you would be a goner.”
Mrs Rowberry, 69, originally thought the remnants were a machine cover as her neighbour is a landscape gardener and says she was shocked when he told her that it was actually the remains of a Chinese lantern.
“I thought ‘oh my God’,” she said. “It’s quite a big thing and the wires are still in it. I have had smaller ones land here quite some years ago but I have never seen one of this size before. They are highly dangerous and just lethal.”
Mrs Rowberry, a retired accountant, says she is particularly concerned about the potential effect on livestock.
“I am surrounded by sheep and ponies and a cow could have eaten it,” she said.
“When hay or silage is harvested the metal wires can be cut smaller, the outcome would be very painful and, more than likely, fatal.”
Her sunroom has a plastic roof and Mrs Rowberry says it would have been severely damaged if the lantern had landed on it while it was still lit.
The RSPCA has launched a petition calling for a ban on Chinese lanterns. The group recommend the use of harmless alternatives instead.