Farmers have been urged to watch out for destructive Colorado potato beetles after scientists confirmed the first UK outbreak of the pest since 1977.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) identified the beetle larvae in a field in Kent on Tuesday, and a single adult beetle in a garden in Hampshire on Friday.

Colorado beetles are a significant threat to potato crops, stripping plants of their leaves if left uncontrolled.

UK chief plant health officer Nicola Spence said: "While this pest does not pose a threat to human health, we encourage all growers, farmers, processors and the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings."

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The beetles are endemic in large parts of continental Europe and are occasionally imported into the UK as "hitchhikers" on non-host plant material, such as leafy vegetables, salad leaves, fresh herbs and grain.

They are bright yellow or orange with black stripes, and usually between 8.5mm-11.5mm in length and 3mm in width. The larvae are reddish-brown and up to 15mm in length.

Suspected findings should be reported to the APHA.