Specialist leather maker, Pittards, is warning that consumers may face an increase in leather prices from next autumn because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in the UK.

The Somerset-based company, which supplies top-class names such as Puma, Adidas and Clarks, has welcomed the governments partial lifting of the ban on moving animals to abattoirs.

But managing director, John Pittard told just-style today that the outbreak is likely to continue for some time and it will take time for things to return to normal.

The company relies on British cattle for about 50 per cent of its supplies, with the rest coming from Europe, Scandinavia and North America.

Mr Pittard said: "What we cannot get in the UK we will end up sourcing from overseas.

"Prices for leather items are fixed for a few months but we could see increases because next autumn. It is a difficult situation and a very tragic event for all concerned.

"Some hides and sheepskins are becoming available but things will remain difficult for a while."

By Deborah Bowyer