The summer rains have doubled Britain’s slug population, which could now number 15 billion. The highest increases have been recorded in Gloucestershire, although Lancashire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire have also seen significantly higher numbers.

Slugs eat twice their body weight each day, and each can lay up to 100 eggs. Richard Meredith, of Bayer Crop Science, describes the figures as ‘unprecedented’, and points out that the larger, black slugs are not now confined to the countryside, but have appeared in city gardens also.

The population counts in Spring 2006 revealed an average of 35 slugs per square metre, which had increased to 45 this Spring, and 61 by July.

One of the best ways to combat slug invasion is by using salt, which causes fatal dehydration.