SKIN irritation, itchy eyes and hay fever symptons can all be triggered by coming into contact with canal water.

The Canal and River Trust has issued a warning to people in the Leigh area to ensure families and their pets avoid contact with the water during hot weather due to a potential bloom of blue-green algae.

Blue-green algae occur naturally in many inland freshwaters. Occasionally, blue-green algae ‘blooms’, colouring the water green, blue-green or greenish brown and sometimes causing paint-like or jelly-like scums. This is a natural summer occurrence, but it can be harmful.

Warning signs have been placed around the affected areas.

Cath Ferguson, environment manager at Canal & River Trust said: “We want people to continue to enjoy waterside settings but to be aware that there’s a current outbreak of blue-green algae in the water.

“If people or pets come into contact with affected water, they should wash all exposed skin with clean water as soon as possible, and particularly before eating or drinking. If in doubt seek medical advice.”