A bumper harvest of truffles is being experienced in the UK despite the summer's heatwave, a truffle trader said yesterday.

Nigel Hadden-Paton, who runs Dorset-based Truffle UK, said he had collected unprecedented numbers of the summer or Burgundy truffle in his collecting grounds in Wiltshire.

And he believes the lucrative crop could be present across the South in greater numbers than ever before.

He said: "I can't explain it. My particular spots are producing enormous quantities in a year when the Italians, French and Spanish have been hit by the heatwave.

"It goes against the normal experience, it could be that all the warmth followed by the recent rains has brought them to the surface.

"But it is not just Wiltshire, they can be found anywhere across Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent, anywhere there is chalk and limestone in the land because they need an alkaline soil to grow."

Mr Hadden-Paton said that he is selling the summer truffle at £130 a kilogramme. Last year, an Italian tuber magna-tum would sell at £2,000/kg or Perigord tuber melanosporum would go for £1,000/kg.

Mr Hadden-Paton added: "The summer truffle found in Britain is a much more subtle and delicate flavour."