The BBC have reported this morning that initial tests show the latest foot-and-mouth outbreak on Robert Lawrence’s farm in Egham, Surrey, is the same strain as the outbreak on two farms in the same county last month.

However, DEFRA said this has not yet been confirmed and that it is still awaiting results of tests from Pirbright to identify the strain.

If a link between the two outbreaks was confirmed it would at least narrow down the search for answers as to how the latest outbreak could have happened. It would appear likely that the virus somehow survived undetected in livestock, wildlife, on farms, vehicles or in the environment for a month.

These outbreaks have occurred just five days after chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds announced the virus had been eradicated from the UK and lifted the remaining restrictions.

The infected premises at Milton Park Farm, is understood to keep over 150 pure and crossbred Aberdeen Angus cows plus followers on up to 10 holdings across the Middlesex and Surrey border.

So far 27 cows, 20 calves and 13 fat cattle have been killed and speaking to Farmers Weekly this morning, Robert Lawrence, his wife Katie and their two sons George and Lonnie are said to be completely devastated.