The public needs to do its bit to limit the spread of bird flu this winter, County Hall leaders have said.

Norfolk is facing several outbreaks, which have led to thousands of fowl being culled.

Andrew Proctor, the leader of Norfolk County Council, stressed the scale of the problem at a meeting of the cabinet, calling it "unprecedented".

Raising the issue as an item of urgent business, he said: "We are concerned that avian flu is currently rife and there are six affected sites in Norfolk, four of which are in the Attleborough-Watton area.

"Suffolk has six affected sites with five near the Norfolk border.

"To have this many cases at this time of year is unprecedented.

"What I have mentioned is avian flu in commercial flocks and does not take into account any losses of wild birds coming in from the Broads and along the coast."

Mr Proctor said everyone needs to do their bit in preventing the spread of the virus this winter, stressing that "to do nothing is not an option".

He called on the public to disinfect their footwear if they have been in areas filled with wild birds, report any suspected cases to Defra and to keep pets away from sick and dead birds.

"We have yet to see most of the migratory wildfowl which frequent Norfolk during the winter. We have to do our bit to protect them as well as all domestic poultry," he added.

"Heavy losses across all sectors would impact our economy and our biodiversity.

"The eastern region has 20pc of the UK poultry flock.

"Ninety per cent of Christmas geese are also found in Norfolk and of the four largest flocks in Norfolk there is only one left, so you can see the heavy toll this virus is having already."

Government vets identified two of the Attleborough outbreaks on Saturday.

It is understood more than 10,000 turkeys and 2,500 geese will need to be culled at one of the premises and 8,500 breeding ducks at the other.

A 3km 'protection zone' and 10km 'surveillance zone' has been set up around the affected sites.