The Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner has called on four big retailers to stop selling e-scooters.

In a letter addressed to Argos, Currys, Decathlon and Halfords, Matthew Barber sets out the law on e-scooters.

Private use of these vehicles on UK roads is practically illegal at present, as they are classified as motorcycles. This means that any owner of an e-scooter would require insurance to drive in public - though no such policy is currently available to road users.

E-scooters can only be lawfully used when rented as part of a local government scheme.

In his letter, Mr Barber tells retailers: "Of course, I entirely accept the sale of e-scooters is perfectly legal as they could be used on private land, and indeed in due course the legal position may well change.

"I also appreciate as a commercial entity you are entitled, and indeed obliged to deliver profit for the business. Nevertheless, I would ask if you consider the continued sales to be consistent with being a responsible corporate citizen."

Within the Thames Valley area, e-scooter rental schemes currently exist in Slough, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, Oxford, and High Wycombe.

Mr Barber notes that retailers must be aware of the peculiar legal status of e-scooters, as their websites currently feature disclaimers warning that they cannot be used on public roads.

Despite this, the commissioner is concerned that these vehicles will be used illegally - and that the businesses selling them are fully aware of this.

He said: "This is not just a technical point of law, but also one of risk to your customers and the wider public. Encouraging the use of these vehicles leads to uninsured, unlicensed riders on our roads, often without any safety equipment such as helmets.

"I fully understand that there is nothing to prevent you selling these products, but I would ask you to consider if it is responsible to continue to do so.

"No doubt, you feel the disclaimer gives you protection by having informed your customers, but we both know that this is a bureaucratic nicety.

"I would ask if you would be content for your children to ride an e-scooter illegally, potentially putting themselves and others at risk and urge you to reconsider your position."