VHS tapes that contain precious footage of weddings, family holidays or even your child's first steps, may be at risk from mould, according to Pinnacle.

The software developer says tape mould coats video tapes in a fine white dust, which makes them unwatchable. And according to restoration expert Chris Fears, the wet summers of the last three years have compounded the problem.

He told The Guardian: "It has got to the stage that we open up all the packages of tapes we are sent in a separate room, away from our playing equipment and then we wash and disinfect our hands, because it is so contagious. If it got on to the tape heads in our machines, it would spread everywhere. It's almost like the measles.”

"We all have those special memories we want to keep hold of. Although we may be in for a rude awakening when we find them covered in the mould's fine white dust and rendered totally unwatchable," said a Pinnacle spokesperson.