A mum has described how her children were left "screaming in pain" after they came into contact with toxic caterpillars in a Bromley park.

The Council has urged residents to remain vigilant following the discovery of oak processionary moths on Tugmutton Common. 

Caroline Berry and her two children developed a painful rash after they were stung by the tiny hairs which cover the caterpillars' bodies. 

Ms Berry said: "Within minutes my son came to me, having fallen in the grass near the football goals and said his wrist hurt.

"On inspection it looked like he may have been biten or was getting a little prickly heat.

"He asked if we could go home and I could see he was upset so I agreed.

"As I was packing our bits away my two-year-old daughter came over to me saying her foot hurt.

"In the next minute I had 2 children screaming.

"My son has been awfully affected, and I began vomiting the eve of our encounter with the hairs and then developed the rash.

"I can tell you it is like a thousand gnat bites and prickly heat all at the same time.

"We are still suffering nearly a week on, regardless of the steroids, creams and medicines given to us by our doctor."

The Council says a 500-metre monitoring zone is being set up around the main affected woodland, also known as Farnborough Recreation Ground.

Residents are strongly advised not to touch the caterpillars or interfere with their nests, as the microscopic hairs from the caterpillars contain a toxin known to cause itchy skin rashes, itchy eyes and a sore throat.

If individuals suspect that they have been exposed to the caterpillar’s hairs and have these symptoms, they should contact their GP or NHS Direct, advising them of the potential contact they have had.

Animals such as dogs can also be affected and dog walkers are advised to be vigilant when exercising their dogs in woodland settings.