Britain is facing yet another invasion of foreign wildlife invaders ... earth worms from Europe!
Scientists have found Euro-worms living wild in the New Forest area of Hampshire but the fear is that they may be thousands more living on-noticed in greenhouses throughout the country, imported in earth around imported plant roots.
If these escape into open air gardens, they could attack and wipe out native British worms.
So far, there are no reports that the Euro-worms can cause any other damage or disease but for gardeners in the North of England there could be cause for anxiety: worms are important for conditioning the soil and processing dying vegetation.
The Euro-worms are able to survive dryer conditions than the local species but are highly susceptible to frost. After a dry summer in which the invaders thrived –and decimated the locals – they in turn could be killed off in a harsh winter, leaving a garden virtually wormless.
Our countryside expert John Sheard, a keen allotment gardener, said with a deep sigh “I have spent years battling rabbits, slugs, snails, caterpillars, every weed known to mankind plus totally chaotic weather and now I must fight off killer worms.
“Perhaps it time I took up tiddly winks or embroidery.”