Villagers stay calm

Villagers around the infected Bernard Matthews factory at Holton were staying calm as news broke that the potentially deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu had been found at a nearby poultry farm.

Villagers around the infected Bernard Matthews factory at Holton were staying calm as news broke that the potentially deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu had been found at a nearby poultry farm.

A helicopter hovered above the poultry factory and half a dozen TV camera crews were parked in the small country lanes around the area, with police patrols in evidence at the quiet factory.

Jill Corwin, assistant head of trading standards at Suffolk County Council stressed the minimal risk of infection to humans.

And villagers appeared to be taking the reassurances to heart. Mechanic and father-of-two Stuart Fitch said: “It is worrying what can happen but we really don't know. We always knew when it was first heard of that there was a chance the factory would be infected, but it seems they know what they are doing.”

And Melanie Shenton, landlady of the village pub, the Lord Nelson, agreed that no-one was worried.

Local pig farmer David Bedser, whose farm is half a mile away from the site, said he was not too concerned. “We have got to be quite close to them to get it. I've lived with animals all my life so I know how it is.”

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He has shut up his few tame geese, but does not yet know if they will have to be put down.

The DEFRA helpline for anyone who has concerns is 08456 032814.