Carlisle cooks are being warned of the hidden dangers of gravy after almost half (44 per cent) admitted to pouring it down their sinks.

United Utilities, which looks after the water and wastewater network for the North West, is predicting that Carlisle sewers could be 'under increased' strain this Christmas because of the extra fat-laden food that is cooked over the festive period.

Cooking fats, oils and grease harden into lumps, creating fatbergs which can block pipes, risking a flood in your home. 

Andy Peet, Wastewater Network Protection Manager for United Utilities, said: “There are many ways to make gravy, some people will use their favourite recipe and add meat juices for extra flavour – not realising that’ll turn into a fatty deposit when cooled.

“Even using granules or powder can be problematic as they usually contain some meat juice extracts or starch which can solidify when cooled. Once this happens it can result in a nasty mess which is expensive to clean up.”

To prevent blockages in sinks and drains this Christmas, home cooks are encouraged to scrape cooled fat and oil from plates, roasting dishes, pans and utensils into the bin.