The government is to serve a recall notice on Whirlpool over concerns about the safety of its tumble dryers.

The “unprecedented step” means the company will have to recall hundreds of thousands of appliances over fears they pose a fire safety risk.

It comes after 5.3 million dryers under Whirlpool’s Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit brands required modifying after several fires, including a tower block blaze.

Whirlpool said safety was its “number one priority”.

The company estimates that between 300,000 and 500,000 faulty products could still be in UK homes, three years after the first safety notice was issued – although there is no definitive register to judge the accuracy of the estimate.

Last year, the BBC’s Watchdog Live consumer programme uncovered cases in which machines had caught fire even

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