PEOPLE are urged to “remain vigilant” by a wildlife trust amid the spread of bird flu across Sussex.

The Sussex Wildlife Trust said that avian flu has had a “devastating impact” on wild bird populations across the country, with increasing numbers of sick and dead birds being reported in Sussex - mostly affecting herring and black-headed gulls.

A spokeswoman for the trust urged people to follow guidance from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

She said: “Avian influenza is highly transmissible to birds, but the risk to human health is low.

“If you feed birds in your garden, clean bird feeders regularly and change waters daily.

“It is really important that you do not touch any sick or dead birds. If you find any dead or sick waterfowl, gulls, seabirds or birds of prey, report them to Defra on 03459 335577.

“If you see any sick or dead birds in your garden, remove your feeders to help prevent the spread of disease.”

The advice comes as several cases of bird flu have been reported among wild gulls across Sussex, including in Brighton and Hove, Adur and Rother.

A three-kilometre monitoring zone has been established around a premises near Guestling Green, Rother, after captive birds tested positive for the virus.

Part of the zone intersects with a ten-kilometre surveillance zone, set up after bird flu was detected in north Bexhill last week.

A three-kilometre protection zone, covering most of Bexhill, also remains in place. Birds within the zone should be kept housed, not outdoors, and no movement of birds or eggs should take place within or outside of the zone except under licence.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) is in force across Great Britain until further notice, with all bird keepers urged to take “effective and precautionary biosecurity measures”.