Devon families keeping the tar barrelling tradition alive

Thousands of people packed the streets of Ottery St Mary in Devon last night to watch burning tar barrels carried through the streets.

Barrel rollers, as they're called, don't roll the flaming barrels but instead lift them onto their shoulders and run through the crowds.

However, only people who were born in the town are allowed to take part so it's up to local families to pass down the tradition to their children.

The tradition is hundreds of years old and although its exact origins are unknown it probably started after the gunpowder plot of 1605.

Ottery St Mary is only one of the many towns and villages across the West Country which still continue the practice every year on bonfire night.

The barrels become heavier and larger during the evening and by midnight they can weigh up to 30 kilos.

The Tar Barrel tradition is hundreds of years old but still draws the crowds. Credit: ITV News West Country