A toxic weed which can cause nasty blisters has been fenced off and sprayed with herbicide at a city centre car park.

Chester Race Company had previously taken action to eradicate the giant hog weed at the rear of its Linenhall car park but it has returned with a vengeance.

Race company chief executive Richard Thomas acted immediately on being informed by The Chronicle.

He said: “We’ve fenced it off and sprayed it. We thought we had killed it off. That’s stage one and stage two will probably involve digging up the roots.”

Giant hogweed discovered at the Linenhall car park in Chester city centre has been fenced off and sprayed with herbicide
Giant hogweed discovered at the Linenhall car park in Chester city centre has been fenced off and sprayed with herbicide

Contact with toxic sap from the weed, which more commonly grows near canals and rivers, can increase the sensitivity of the skin to sunlight, often leading to burns. The burns can last for several months and the skin can remain sensitive to light for many years.

The NHS says anyone who touches giant hogweed should wash the affected area with soap and water, and keep it covered. The blisters heal very slowly. If you feel unwell after contact with giant hogweed, speak to your doctor.

Giant hogweed discovered at the Linenhall car park in Chester city centre has been fenced off and sprayed with herbicide
Giant hogweed discovered at the Linenhall car park in Chester city centre has been fenced off and sprayed with herbicide

What is it? - the hogweed factfile

■ A large weed with white umbrella-shaped flower head now widespread along river banks and canal towpaths

■ Can grow about 13ft (4m) high and has leaves up to 5ft (1.5m) wide

■ Poisonous sap from stem hairs can cause severe blistering which can take months to heal

■ Resembles cow parsley but has reddish-purple stem with fine spines and spotted leaf stalks

■ Can produce up to 50,000 seeds per year