Hordes of flies descend on Swanton Morley - and no one knows why.

John Leary from Swanton Morley, with fly paper containing flies collected in one day. Picture: Matthew Usher.

John Leary from Swanton Morley, with fly paper containing flies collected in one day. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

A village is under seige, leaving people to batten down the hatches, close the windows and reach for the fly swatters.

Swanton Morley, near Dereham, has become infested with black clouds of flies which have swarmed into homes getting in cups of tea and putting villagers off their dinner.

John and Judy Leary, who moved to the area around 12 years ago, said that although there had been noticeable numbers of flies in previous years it had never been this bad.

Mrs Leary said: “It is just awful.

“We thought we would be able to get on top of this but we just haven’t been able to.

“I don’t recall it ever being this bad before.

“I was hoping someone would have an old wives’ tale that would help but nothing works.”

Mrs Leary has tried hanging up herbs and lighting candles but these have failed to keep the horde at bay.

Her husband said: “We tried to have a glass of wine the other night but we had to give up because there were flies in it.

“You can’t drink a cup of tea without putting your hand or a coaster over it.”

The couple, who live on Woodgate Lane, have been forced to decorate their house with fly papers and most rooms have a fly swatter in easy reach.

They estimate that they have gone through between 50 and 100 papers in the last three weeks.

Friend Joyce Cooke lives on Hoe Road South and has also suffered from the invasion.

She said: “It is still just dreadful.

“We have lived here for 27 years and it has never been like this.

“No one seems to know what is causing it.

“We are not able to go outside in this hot weather and we are having to keep our windows closed or get flies in the house.”

Villagers have contacted Breckland Council about the problem however no one has been able to track down the origin.

A district council spokesman said: “When we are alerted to significant fly problems in a particular area, our Environmental Protection team will come out to investigate and provide advice.

“However, flies can travel several miles from where they hatch, so it can be incredibly difficult to identify their original source.”

Dereham DIY Centre, on High Street, Dereham, has been doing a roaring trade in fly paper, swatters and electrical fly traps.

Sales assistant Terry Burrell said: “I’ve never known anything like it.

“We have gone through boxes and boxes of papers. We have had to find two more suppliers.

“We have stocked up on them now but we had a job to get some more.”

Has your village been overrun by pests? Contact reporter Doug Faulkner at


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