A mum has spoken out after tiny moth caterpillars left her children "screaming in pain" and suffering a horrific week-long rash.

Caroline Berry and her two youngsters Annie, two, and George, five, all developed painful rashes after they unknowingly came in contact with the toxic tiny hairs which cover the bugs' bodies.

Instead of enjoying a family picnic she says they quickly had to pack up and leave after being stung by the insects while playing in a park. Later on Caroline said she felt so ill she had to throw up.

One week on and Caroline says they still haven't recovered.

Ms Berry said: "Within minutes my son came to me, having fallen in the grass near the football goals and said his wrist hurt.

"On inspection it looked like he may have been bitten or was getting a little prickly heat.

"He asked if we could go home and I could see he was upset so I agreed.

Caroline felt sick and developed this rash on her neck, worse than prickly heat

"As I was packing our bits away my two-year-old daughter came over to me saying her foot hurt.

"In the next minute I had two children screaming.

"My son has been awfully affected, and I began vomiting the eve of our encounter with the hairs and then developed the rash.

A nasty rash covered her son's arms

"I can tell you it is like a thousand gnat bites and prickly heat all at the same time.

"We are still suffering a week on, regardless of the steroids, creams and medicines given to us by our doctor.

"We're told it could take as long as three weeks to clear up."

The species which develop into oak processionary moths have caused havoc after it was accidentally introduced in 2005.

The bugs' toxic hairs become airborne and irritate skin or throat even without direct contact, often after settling on surfaces.

Caroline now wants the council to increase awareness of the dangers of the tiny invaders.

The despite the local authority telling residents to stay on the lookout for the insects, on Tugmutton Common, near Bromley, south east London.

Caroline thinks there should be more awareness of the tiny invaders

But staff printed only a small sign with a glaring typing mistake which risks misleading visitors by saying the park is "NOT known to be infested" instead of "NOW known to be infested".

Bromley Council has been aware of the issue since June 16 when a person was stung - more than a week before Caroline and her children went for a picnic in the park.

Two more incidents were reported to the council on June 17 and June 18 and one complaint.

The Council says a 500m monitoring zone is being set up around the main affected woodland, also known as Farnborough Recreation Ground.

The species, not native to the UK, was accidentally introduced in 2005

Meanwhile, infested trees have been painted with an orange band and a small A4 sign has been attached to the park railings.

But Mum Caroline claims more should be done.

She said: "In a sign it says do not interfere with their nests but we didn't even see a caterpillar and we've been really effected.

"I saw the trees with orange mark and one of them is actually inside the play park which is a smaller fenced area.

"If I was a child I would think "this could be our home tree, its got. a bright orange mark, it could be a magic button or something.

"There is no signage to suggest that the orange marks show that the trees are infested or anything so my mission at the moment is to really raise awareness.

The family was prescribed steroids, creams and medicine but the rash didn't go away

She added: "I am extremely concerned that there is a marked tree known to be infected in the play park and this could affect a lot of kids.

"I'm desperate to make people aware of this. I will be making my own signs but I am unable to put them up myself as I can not go back due to risk of secondary reaction being more severe."

Since being stung, Caroline has taken to Next Door, a resident's forum, to spread her warning.

Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment and Community Services said, "We are taking action on Tugmutton Common to remove the caterpillars and nest and will be monitoring the situation locally to this area.

"It is important that dog walkers in particular, through to youngsters messing around having fun in general, remain extremely vigilant as this pest represents a potentially extremely serious health issue for anybody who comes into contact with it.

A processionary caterpillar is covered in tiny hairs that can float in the air and irritate the skin and throat

"It is not only a health hazard to humans but also threatens loved pets as the hairs of the caterpillars are toxic and so should not be touched under any circumstances. Please report concerns if you come across them."

Animals such as dogs can also be affected and dog walkers are advised to be vigilant when exercising their dogs in woodland settings.