Playing the bagpipes could prove fatal, after a man died from continually breathing in mould and fungus trapped in his instrument.

Doctors in Manchester have identified the condition "bagpipe lung" following the death of a 61-year-old man from chronic inflammatory lung condition hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The condition is triggered by the immune system's response to inhaling irritants. When the man was diagnosed in 2009 doctors were puzzled because his house contained no mould and he had never smoked. He played the bagpipes daily and samples taken from several areas inside the bagpipes were found to contain six types of mould and fungi. The man died recently and a post mortem revealed extensive lung damage. The research was published in Thorax.

Ian Clabburn, chairman of the Bagpipe Society, said: "There are huge numbers of Highland pipers, many in organisations such as the military, which may have noticed a correlated trend in lung disease over the last 150 years. I am not aware of any such being recorded".