The threat of France’s bedbug outbreak spreading to London’s public transport network is “a real source of concern”, the capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan said.

Bedbugs have been reported across France, with many cases in Paris.

Mr Khan said Transport for London (TfL) is “taking steps” to prevent the insects spreading across the city on its services.

He told website PoliticsJoe: “This is a real source of concern. People are worried about these bugs in Paris causing a problem in London.

“I was in contact with TfL last week and this weekend. We’re taking steps to make sure we don’t have those problems in London, in relation to regular cleaning of the Tube and our buses.

“(We’re) talking to Eurostar as well.

“I want to reassure those watching and those listening: TfL have one of the best regimes to clean our assets on a nightly basis.

“We’re speaking to our friends in Paris to see if there are any lessons to be learned.

“For a variety of reasons we don’t think those issues will arise in London but (there is) no complacency from TfL.”

Bedbugs feed on blood by biting people, creating wounds that can be itchy but do not usually cause other health problems.

The insects often live on furniture or bedding and can spread by being on clothes or luggage.

Luton Borough Council issued a statement on its website, saying it “does not have limitless resources to counter this pest”.

It added: “This national bedbug problem has not missed Luton.

“The pest control service is currently receiving an alarming number of bedbug jobs on a weekly basis.

“Whilst the bedbug is not known to be a carrier of disease, the council does recognise the bedbug as being an obnoxious pest with which to have to share a home… successful treatment can be a lengthy process and the council does not have limitless resources.”

Cross-Channel train operator Eurostar said it has created a “preventive detection campaign” for bedbugs.

It went on: “The safety and wellbeing of our customers is always our number one priority and across the entire Eurostar network, we have not seen an upsurge in bedbugs on board our trains.

“The textile surfaces on all of our trains are cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis and this involves hot water injection and extraction cleaning, which is highly effective in eliminating bedbugs.

“Any reports on hygiene matters are taken very seriously and our cleaning teams, in addition to the usual cleaning, will also disinfect a train on request or as soon as there is the slightest doubt.

“We have set up a preventive detection campaign, and this will be stepped up in the coming weeks.”

Robert Smith, a professor emeritus at the University of Huddersfield, said: “Increasing numbers of reports of bedbugs are likely to reflect widespread media coverage over the last week or so.

“Bedbug infestations have, however, become more common over many years in the UK and across the world.

“This is probably because of the evolution of resistance to insecticides, and might also be affected by restrictions in availability and use of some insecticides.

“Bedbugs can be hard to get rid of because they live for many months and hide in cracks and crevices during the day.

“I avoid unpacking luggage in hotels. I leave my clothes in a zipped suitcase and never use hotel drawers to reduce the chances of picking up unwanted bugs.

“Some people store their suitcases in the hotel bathtub.”