HIGHLY infectious bird flu has been discovered in a flock of poultry kept in a Dorset back garden.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 was confirmed in backyard poultry near Gillingham on Saturday, according to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The birds must now be humanely killed to prevent the disease spreading.

A DEFRA spokesman said: "All birds on the premises will be humanely culled. A three kilometre Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone has been declared."

It comes after bird flu was detected in wild geese in Weymouth, as well as swans in Poole, amid a national outbreak of the disease.

The Government has now imposed strict rules to prevent the spread of bird flu.

The rules state that birds must be kept indoors where possible, and that bird keepers must put biosecurity measures in place, amongst other measures.

Taking to Twitter, north Dorset MP Simon Hoare said: "I’m afraid we have had a case of Avian Flu in a small domestic flock in the Gillingham area. All birds culled.

"If you keep poultry etc. please be vigilant and take the necessary steps."