ALBINO moles are a rare find so a Vale mole catcher got quite a shock when he caught three in just a few days.

Mole catcher Steven Blount has been out removing the small blind creatures in the county for 20 years and during that time has caught thousands of the mammals.

But he was still taken aback when he came across three albino moles for the first time last week, which experts say are so rare only one in 100,000 has the condition.

And Mr Blount, who is a partner at Hinton Pest Control, was just a few miles from the village when he made the discovery.

"I was surprised," he said. "I was expecting to find a black mole and found a white one instead. I had heard of albino moles but not seen one around before.

"It's not something you think you will come across."

Mr Blount was in fact catching the moles for a local farmer after they caused serious damage to his land.

Liz Davies, also partner at Hinton Pest Control, said: "They were found in a field used for grazing live stock. I had not seen a field like it, it was basically one big mole hill.

"The mole hills can be quite dangerous for the live stock if they stand on a tunnel and the ground collapses they can break their legs.

"In the first week on the field Steven caught black moles. Then he came back and said guess what I have caught. Between the technicians here they have 50 years experience and this is the first albino mole they have seen.

"Then a few days on he caught another two albino moles. It's quite sad because they are marvellous little creatures and very soft. People ask can we use humane traps but any self respecting mole wouldn't go into a humane trap."

James Porteous, of the British Traditional Molecatchers Register, confirmed that albino moles are extremely rare.

"There are 30 to 40 million moles in the country," said Mr Porteous, who has run the British Traditional Molecatchers Register website for about eight years. "We reckon there is about one albino mole in 100,000 moles. Then they may not even be completely rare.

"Those ones they have got were very good examples of albino moles as they are completely white."