THE Environment Agency is advising people to take care when walking near rivers, streams, lakes and ponds.

Freezing temperatures have meant many river banks have become hazardous, and the agency has reminded the public it is dangerous to venture out onto ice-covered water.

It is also advising people to keep their dogs on leads when exercising them near ice, as they are just as vulnerable to drowning under these conditions.

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An agency spokesman said: "We are concerned an accident on the ice could in minutes turn a winter wonderland into a place of tragedy."