Sussex churches could be banned from burning incense after reports the fumes caused a pensioner to collapse.

The Health and Safety Executive has been called to investigate whether frankincense and myrrh being burned in a church put a pensioner's life at risk.

Ronald Caseby said he has collapsed three times since his church started burning incense.

He claims he has now stopped attending because he fears the fumes could kill him.

The 73-year-old, who has gone to church his whole life, said: “I had tuberculosis as a youngster.

“I have been going to St Paul's Church for 19 years and the first time they burned incense I collapsed.

“It has happened three times now."

Mr Caseby of Lincoln Green, Chichester, has called for the Health and Safety Executive to investigate, believing there could be dangerous levels of the deadly toxins carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide in St Paul's Church.

Churches across Sussex could change the rules on the traditional form of worship if it is found that the sweet smelling smoke is harmful to worshippers with lung problems.

A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Chichester said: “We take the health and safety of parishioners very seriously. The Bishop is discussing with his staff, and in consultation with health and safety teams, whether a policy needs to be established. Any policy change will be announced in due course. In the meantime the church a notice has been placed on the church notice board informing churchgoers when incense is being used.”

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said that they were involved in the case, but were unable to reveal the conclusions of their investigation yesterday.