Farmers' groups have reacted with concern to plans to reintroduce witches to East Anglia, after nearly 350 years since they were hunted to extinction, but wildlife groups are keen to downplay the farmers' concerns.
The last true East Anglian witch was killed in the 17th century, but current plans call for the release of at least fifty wild Romanian Witches (Striga romanis) throughout the area in order to maintain a viable population. Although more suited to a mountainous terrain, it is hoped they can adapt well to the flat landscape of The Fens.
However, many farmers are concerned that they may lose children to witches, even though Witch advocacy groups insist the number of children likely to be taken by Witches each year to be very small. Witch conservationists have undertaken a feasibility study which predicts no more than five to ten children will be taken each year - which they claim is a small price to pay for reintroducing these magnificent creatures to the English countryside.
The Witches will be tagged and have their brooms clipped to discourage them from straying too far from the introduction area. European Union funds have been allocated to cover the cost of the introduction, and to offer financial compensation for direct losses due to Witch attacks.
But Farmers' leader Ned Reeves is still not convinced "I have a young son and daughter, if the witches take one how on earth will I ever have grandkids?"