Every Mercedes-Benz car sold in Britain in the past six years is being recalled following a scandal over faked emission results.

Owners of nearly every model made German vehicle manufacturer will be asked to return their cars so the engines can be adjusted to reduce the amount of pollutants they emit.

It follows the launch of an investigation by the German authorities in May into allegations of fraud and criminal advertising by employees of the firm relating to the possible manipulation of exhaust controls in cars with diesel engines.

The company has said it is cooperating with the investigation.

The decision to cut emissions from around three million existing vehicles across Europe will cost the company about £195 million (220 million euros).

The recall will have an impact on hundreds of thousands of Daimler vehicles, including the popular C-class and E-class Mercedes-Benz, sold in Britain.

In 2015 alone 145,254 Mercedes-Benz cars were sold in the UK, up from 124,419 the previous year - the vast majority of them diesel engines.

Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s chief executive officer, said on Tuesday: “The public debate about diesel engines is creating uncertainty. We have therefore decided on additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology.”