A NORTH EAST council is investigating after reports that a toxic burn-causing plant has flourished in a park in recent weeks.

Sunderland City Council has said it is looking into concerns after residents reported plants resembling Giant Hogweed in Burn Park, off Durham Road.

The toxic plant, which can leave severe burns, and in some cases cause temporary blindness, is often seen in woodland, parks, by riverbanks - and even gardens.

According to experts, the plant is said to be in season and is now expected to "thrive and spread" in areas where it is not checked.

The Northern Echo:

The council is investigating concerns Picture: CONTRIBUTOR

That has prompted Mini First Aid to recently issue warnings to everyone, especially parents, urging them to avoid going near the plant at all costs.

A spokesperson said: "Now is the season for 'Britain's most dangerous plant' and with the lovely weather forecast in a couple of weeks time, this stuff will thrive and spread.

Read more: Map shows where Giant Hogweed is growing across the North East

"All parents, please warn your children not to touch the plant as the leaves, stems, roots, flowers and seeds all contain this terrible poisonous toxin.

"Any parts of the body that come into contact with the sap of a giant hogweed should be immediately washed with soap and cold water and seek medical advice.

In a statement, Sunderland City Council said the council employed a treatment programme in order to deal with the dangerous plant.

It made the comments as it confirmed it had received and was investigating reports, but did not confirm whether or not the plant was present.

It said: "​Reports of giant hogweed in Burn Park are currently being investigated. The City Council has a treatment programme for this plant and anyone with reports of giant hogweed should contact the City Council on 0191 5205550 or through www.sunderland.gov.uk."