PEOPLE who have received electric bikes or e-scooters as festive gifts are being warned to take extra care when charging them.

The warning has been issued by West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue chiefs, following a number of incidents across this region and elsewhere in the UK.

In one case dealt with by the West Yorkshire brigade, two people were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation following a blaze caused by a lithium battery from an e-bike that was being charged overnight.

Dave Walton, the region's deputy chief fire officer, says: "E-bikes and e-scooters are becoming increasingly popular. Whilst they can provide a great way for people to get around, they also come with a number of risks – and one of the biggest is that of fire due to the lithium batteries.

"Lithium is highly flammable and particularly dangerous because of the battery's high energy density. Not only do people need to be careful when charging these batteries, but the batteries must be recycled properly and not disposed of with general household waste."

Advice includes:

* Ensure you charge the battery in a well-ventilated area.

* Charge batteries whilst you are awake and in the house, so you can respond quickly if there is an emergency. Don’t leave batteries to charge whilst you are asleep or away from the home.

* When charging always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t forget to unplug your charger when finished.

* Ensure you have working smoke alarms, especially in the location where you are charging your battery.

* Always use the manufacturer-approved charger for the product, and if you spot any signs of wear and tear or damage buy an official replacement for your product from a reputable seller.

* Do not charge batteries or store your e-bike or e-scooter near combustible or flammable materials.

* Avoid storing or charging e-bikes and e-scooters on escape routes or in communal areas of a multi-occupied building. If there’s a fire, it could affect people’s ability to escape.

* In the event of an e-bike, e-scooter or lithium-ion battery fire do not attempt to extinguish the blaze yourself. Get out the house and call 999.

* Only buy e-bikes, e-scooters and chargers and batteries from reputable retailers. Register your product with the manufacturer and check the product isn’t subject to a recall.

* It’s important to remember water isn’t effective at extinguishing a lithium battery fire.