A Norfolk MP has spoken of the "magic" of carrying the torch for an under-threat species of glow-in-the-dark worm found in north Norfolk.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has become a 'species champion' for glow-worms, a kind of beetle belonging to the Lampyridae or firefly family.

As part of the brief, Mr Baker works with conservation charity Buglife to help protect glow-worms, which are being threatened by habitat loss, pesticide use and light pollution.

He said he recently got to see glow-worms after dark at Sheringham Park.

Mr Baker said: “I was approached by Buglife and I was very happy to take up the cause.

“It was an absolutely magical experience, and it was special to see them up close. It’s one of those rare experiences which I was lucky enough to have and one I shall always remember."

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Eastern Daily Press: The glow wormThe glow worm (Image: Neil Fletcher)

North Norfolk is home to two recognised ‘dark sky’ sites at Wiveton Downs and Kelling Heath.

But in England, the number of female glow-worms has declined by 75pc over 18 years due to light pollution interfering with the light-based signals used by the species to mate.

Light pollution can make it harder for male glow-worms to locate potential mates.

Females rely on the sunset as a cue to glow, but get confused by light pollution.

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Eastern Daily Press: North Norfolk MP Duncan BakerNorth Norfolk MP Duncan Baker (Image: Stuart Anderson)

Light pollution has increased by 49pc over the past 25 years.

“We need to protect our dark sky areas,” Mr Baker added.

“Lots of our light pollution we don’t even need through the night, so by turning off lights we can reduce light pollution as well as save energy.”

Although Mr Baker is the only one from Norfolk, Buglife has appointed dozens of MPs to champion the cause of various animals. For example, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey is the champion for bitterns, while Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn has taken up the cause of water voles.