AHEAD of the weekend's warm weather, local councils and Devon Wildlife Trust have issued a warning over sightings of Portuguese man o' war.

A Portuguese man o' war is a a jelly-fish like stinging creature, distinct in its bright blue colour and inflated 'sail'.

The Devon Wildlife Trust has  had reports of Portuguese Man o' War being seen at Wembury Beach, Blackpool Sands and off shore in Plymouth Sound in recent weeks. It’s not unusual to get reports at this time of year – autumn sees the highest numbers of arrivals.

A Portuguese Man o’ War has tentacles that are covered with stinging cells, loaded with coils which inject the venom.

A sting will leave painful red welts on the skin which can continue for several hours. Stings are extremely painful and are often accompanied with muscle cramps, elevated heart rates, and vomiting. In very rare cases stings can kill if there is an allergic reaction causing anaphylactic shock. 

A spokesperson for the Devon Wildlife Trust said: 'Strong South westerly winds would make it more likely that more might arrive, but the warm weather doesn’t really influence numbers. Of course, what it does do is increase the number of human visitors to our coastlines.

 'People need to exercise caution around Portuguese Man of War. They can give a nasty sting if touched. This not only applies to when they are encountered in the water, but also when they’ve been washed up on shore. The rule is look, but don’t touch. It’s also worth keeping dogs away from them.'