A Cockermouth woman has come up with an innovation to help keep people’s homes warm.

When Sally Phillips, 43, moved into her Horsman Street home she found that it was losing heat up its chimney.

She hit upon the idea of using the fleece of Herdwick stuffed up the flue to stop the heat escaping when the fire wasn’t in use.

She first thought of the idea two years ago and has worked on it for the last 12 months, with fleece supplied by a Buttermere farmer.

She said: “I experimented with all different types of fleece and the Herdwick’s fleece has the best properties.”

The Chimney Sheep products are different shapes and sizes and can be bent to fit into different sized chimneys.

She added: “If it is too stiff it bends, and if it is too soft it just falls out again.

“There is an inflatable chimney balloon available, but once it is in the chimney it is hard to take out again.”

Sally, a self-employed bat surveyor, has established Chimney Sheep at the Solway Industrial Estate in Maryport.

She said her first customer was neighbour Ruth Carroll. A shop in Ireland has also ordered her products. She is looking for retail outlets and currently sells the product online.