Yes, it's hot - but for Pete's sake, keep your top on!

BRITAIN is sweltering in a summer heatwave, with temperatures climbing to a dizzying high 31.9C - and it appears the clobber is coming off.

To quell the steamy hordes of  half-naked, sweaty shoppers, some stores are  demanding that customers cover-up while browsing the aisles.

The fightback has been led by one Tesco store in the seaside town of Newquay in Cornwall, where staff have put up a sign asking patrons to keep their tops and shoes on, so not to put off other shoppers.

"In stores such as this one which are close to the beach, we ask that customers wear a T-shirt and shoes. Whilst we know that many people like to pop in quickly, we ask that people are considerate of others, as we want all of our customers to feel comfortable when shopping," a Tesco spokesman said.

The "cover-up" sign was put up as temperatures hit a new high for the year, of 31.9C, at Heathrow Airport yesterday, while the mercury was forecast to remain at 31C today.

Today's high temperature marks the fifth day in a row that the thermometer reading has exceeded 30C, representing the longest heatwave for seven years.

It prompted the Met Office to issue a level-three heatwave alert, warning social and healthcare workers to focus on the very young, the very old and those with chronic diseases.

"Keeping the home as cool as possible during hot weather and remembering the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk is essential," a Department of Health spokesman said.

"The elderly and those who are ill are particularly vulnerable during hot weather," he continued.

Police and fire chiefs reiterated their warnings about the dangers of swimming in open water as the hot weather attracted huge numbers of swimmers, and a teenager and a man died at separate lakes at Bawsey Pits in Norfolk. Both were caught in the reeds.

The weather also prompted police to warn people not to cool down by opening fire hydrants, after a man was arrested for doing this in the Elswick area of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Newcastle West police inspector Mark Farrimond said: "It may all seem like fun and games, but fire hydrants are there for a very good reason - to save lives."



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