More than 1,600 firefighters across the West Midlands are to be balloted over industrial action following the controversial sacking of two Black Country colleagues.

Firefighters are threatening a strike in support of watch commander Mark Smith and crew commander Lee Evans.

They lost their jobs after a practical joke was played on a new recruit, who was allegedly asked to ballet dance during a spoof interview.

An appeal against the dismissals was thrown out but the decision has angered their colleagues.

Chris Downes, Dudley borough rep with the Fire Brigades Union, said a meeting of the FBU registered an official dispute with the West Midlands Fire Service.

And, he said, it had also been decided to ask the executive council of the FBU for permission to ballot all 1,681 West Midland fire-fighters who are members of the union.

"The feedback suggests there is over-whelming support for Mark and Lee," he said. "Should reinstatement be recommended and the fire service does not do so, I can see colleagues taking action."

A West Midlands Fire Service spokesman said the service could not comment on disciplinary matters.