A FIRE chief has issued a warning about “fake” mobile phone chargers, putting them top of his list of dangerous household gadgets.

Steve Gourlay said that while the vast majority of electrical items in the home were safe, his biggest concern was cheap chargers. He said: “If it costs £1 there is probably a reason for it and some can be very very dangerous.”

Mr Gourlay, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s area commander for East Lothian, was speaking at a meeting of East Lothian Council’s Police, Fire and Community Safety Scrutiny Committee.

Councillor Jane Henderson, committee member, asked him about the safety of household appliances, many of which are left on when people are not at home.

Her question came after a report to the committee revealed that there had been a marginal increase in the number of accidental household fires in the county over the last year from 35 to 36.

The councillor asked how safe items such as white goods which might be plugged in all the time or smart technology were.

Mr Gourlay said: “Just about all electrical equipment is as safe as it can be. We have seen some issues with some other goods. The one that would sit top of my list is fake mobile phone chargers.”

The fire report, which covered incidents from April to September last year, saw deliberate fires rise for the fifth year in a row, with the majority of incidents in Prestonpans and Tranent.

Since 2014 the number of deliberate fires recorded over the same time of year has more than doubled from 76 in 2014 to 168 in 2018.

Mr Gourlay said that while there was no specific evidence to show what age groups were behind the fires, recent Scottish Government statistics suggested 80 per cent involved young people, but he cautioned it was “not always the case”, pointing to the arrests of two men in their early twenties in Fife recently.