Blistering heat came from more than just the recent bout of hot weather when an infamous contest returned to west Dorset.

New records were achieved at the World Nettle Eating Championships, held at The Bottle Inn in Marshwood on Saturday evening

The quirky annual event involves eating as many nettles as possible in one hour from two feet stalks that local farmers cut beforehand from fields around Marshwood.

Philip Thorne, a 53-year-old chef from Colyton in Devon, became the first competitor ever to munch his way through more than 100ft of nettles.

Despite being a very hot day, Philip decided to wear the same multi-coloured sweater he had worn when he triumphed two years ago when he got through 86ft of nettles. With excitement mounting amongst the crowd as to whether he could reach 100ft, a huge final effort got Philip to his target and, after double-checking the stalks, the judges declared him the winner with 104ft of nettles consumed.

The previous record holder, Pete Wellman from Axminster, who got through 96ft of nettles in 2015, acted as commentator this year and, after announcing the results, said: "'What an achievement. But I have decided to take part again next year so I can try and regain my record."

There was also a new record set in the women's event when Mel Lang, a 51-year-old catering assistant from Salisbury, ate 61ft of nettles beating the previous record of 56ft set by Naomi Harris from Chard.

She was closely challenged by 25-year-old Rachel Woods, who teaches at Colyton Grammar School, and it was decided that Mel and Rachel should share the trophy.

Some veteran watchers claimed the records had been broken because the recent long dry spell of weather meant that the nettles had not grown as big as usual but others said that this meant they were 'even more disgusting to eat than usual'.

Philip said: "It was just very hard work."

The cups were presented by the owner of The Bottle Inn, Michael Brookes, who thanked everyone for their support. To coincide with the event the pub had also organised a beer festival featuring a wide selection of real ales and cider.

After the nettle eating was completed there was a display in the pub garden given by the Upylyme Morris Men and this was followed by live music from 2 Much Stuff.