Former prime minister Liz Truss has urged people to stand against "animal extremists" who she says pose a serious threat to Norfolk's farming businesses.

In an exclusive interview with the EDP which will be published in full tomorrow,  the South West Norfolk MP launched an attack on environmental activists. She says the activists are "intimidating farmers" across the region as she pledged her support to the livestock industry.

Ms Truss is bidding for re-election in her constituency, where she has been Conservative MP since 2010, and will stand against three other candidates at the General Election. 

She said: "Extreme animal rights activists have been targeting pig farms. Farmers have told me that they've felt too intimidated to go to Norwich Market because of extreme activists.

"It is very concerning. Most people want to enjoy a bacon sandwich, and they want to enjoy one that was reared here in the UK because we have high standards.

"Extreme activists are coming into the county to protest against legitimate businesses that are producing food that people want to eat, and that worries me."

Eastern Daily Press: Former prime minister Liz TrussFormer prime minister Liz Truss (Image: Denise Bradley)

She condemned protests which saw dead piglets dumped in Downham Market town centre and vegan activists who occupied the Cranswick Country Foods in Watton - resulting in the arrests of seven people. 

However, Ms Truss was hesitant to endorse two new mega-farms in Methwold and Feltwell, set to house 14,000 pigs and 870,000 chickens. Local people have raised thousands of pounds in a bid to stop the development - which could be one of the biggest in Europe.

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Eastern Daily Press: The dead piglets which were dumped in Downham MarketThe dead piglets which were dumped in Downham Market (Image: Supplied)

She said: "I can't comment on the abstract, as we don't know exactly what the plans are yet. But I would be very happy to live next to a pig farm.

"I want to listen to residents and their concerns but we can't have extreme activists intimidating people."

Ms Truss has increased her majority in South West Norfolk each year since she was first elected in 2010. In the last general election, in 2019, she took 69pc of the vote, with a majority of 26,000 plus, well clear of second-placed Labour.