Farmers claim they are under threat from hungry wood pigeons that attack brussel sprout crops and could cause million pounds of damage in December.

Small crops are encased in netting to protect the plant, but this is removed in December when the sprouts will be picked for the festive season.

“Growers have tried all manner of deterrents from small gas bangers to kites in the shape of hawks and flags that rustle in the wind,” explained Tesco’s sprout buyer Lance Canavan. “But after a while the birds get used to them and they become less effective.”

Farmers claim it’s such an issue that the cost could reach millions. The issue is due to be discussed at the annual Brassica Growers’ Association conference in January.