About 12,000 geese will be culled after bird flu was found at a Breckland farm - Norfolk's fourth confirmed case in the last seven days.

Government vets identified a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza in a commercial flock of poultry near Mundford, between Swaffham and Thetford.

Defra said all birds on the infected farm will be humanely culled, and a 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone were put in place around the premises.

Watton & Swaffham Times: Defra has confirmed a case of bird flu in commercial poultry near MundfordDefra has confirmed a case of bird flu in commercial poultry near Mundford (Image: Defra)

It is one of more than 160 confirmed cases across the country in the UK's worst-ever bird flu outbreak, and the fifteenth in Norfolk and Suffolk since the start of September - including five near Attleborough.

Fabian Eagle, a poultry auctioneer who is also Norfolk county council's member champion for the rural economy, said the latest case meant more than half of the UK's Christmas geese have now been culled.

"That is the last of the four big flocks of geese gone," he said. "On a conservative estimate you could probably say that over half of the UK's Christmas geese have now been culled.

"It is unlikely you will see an English goose in the supermarkets this Christmas, but if you normally get it from your local village supplier make sure you have confirmed your order."

Tens of thousands of turkeys, chickens and ducks have also been culled after recent outbreaks, but government officials and farming leaders said this is still a small proportion of national production, and there is not currently expected to be a shortage of Christmas turkeys.

Last week, the intensifying outbreak in the east of England sparked a raft of new restrictions in a bid to halt the spread of the disease.

The regional Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) makes it a legal requirement for all bird keepers across Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex to follow strict biosecurity rules including disinfecting clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with captive birds.

Although avian influenza can be devastating for wild birds and poultry flocks, the UK Health Security Agency advise that the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency says avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk.

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.