FOURTEEN years after 5,000 daffodils were 'slaughtered' by a team of strimmer wielders more flowers are meeting the same fate.

Around the turn of the millennium John Canny began planting daffodil bulbs by the Wintry Wood smallholding at the Thornwood Road-The Plain junction in Epping.

After sevens years of planting, he had grown around 5,000 flowers for the public's enjoyment.

In 2004 however, land managers City of London Corporation decided they had been planted 'illegally', were not a native species to the forest and 'not in keeping with the forest's natural aspect'.

A team was sent in to cut down the springtime blooms.

Now, fourteen years since what the smallholder referred to as the 'utter madness' of March 2004, the daffodils are in danger again.

"This year they (the daffodils) came up with a vengeance," said the 81 year-old.

"We all thought 'that's lovely'. I hadn't done anything to them, they just popped up.

"Then a couple of weeks ago the crew from Epping Forest started slaughtering them again."

While Mr Canny has no legal power to protect the bulk of the blooms, in 2005 he successfully argued a strip by his property should be left alone.

At the time he promised 'consequences' if these were touched and on Tuesday reiterated his pledge to protect them.

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation said: “Epping Forest is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest protecting scarce native wildlife.

“Our native trees and flowers are under increasing pressure, being displaced by non-native species and exposed to new plant diseases.

“While daffodils are a welcome sign of Spring in many parks and gardens, the commercial daffodils planted by the resident are not native and risk damaging the natural character and ecology of this protected area.

“We are always open to discussion about Epping Forest and welcome visitors’ suggestions through or 020 8532 1010.”