VISITORS to the New Forest are being warned to keep their distance from pigs following the start of the annual pannage season.

Every autumn a large number of pigs owned by Forest residents are released to hoover up thousands of acorns that are poisonous to ponies and cattle.

New Forest Awareness Group is raising awareness of pannage.

Writing on social media a spokesperson said: "I have had a request from a police call taker, who says at this time of year, there are extra calls from people who are concerned about pigs on the Forest.

"They are out there for a reason and doing a job.

"We ask people not to try and engage with the pigs or piglets as it is not likely to end well - pigs can be protective of piglets.

"Please respect the New Forest code and keep your distance from all Forest stock.

"Feeding pigs on the Forest anything other than their natural food will result in them having to be removed, and that puts other stock in danger.