Pity if you will the poor burghers of the Northumberland village of Felton - living as they are under a palpable pall of fear provoked by the attentions of a monstrous, allotment-menacing devil rabbit.
That's according to the Times, which reports that the "Beast of Felton" - a deer-sized, black and brown creature with "diabolically shaped ears" - has already decimated "a market stall's worth of Japanese onions, parsnips and spring carrots".
The first sighting of the Mephistophelean herbivore came back in February. Allotment holder Jeff Smith, 63, recounted: "This is no ordinary rabbit. We are dealing with a monster. It's absolutely massive.
"The first time I saw it, I wasn't sure what it was. Its prints are huge, about the size of a deer. It's a brute of a thing. We have two lads here with guns who are trying to shoot it, but it's too clever. They never see it."
The two lads in question are hired guns tasked with killing the vegetarian vandal. One of the Magnificent Two, underkeeper Brian Cadman, said: "Only a few people have seen it so far but I've seen the evidence and I think it's going to be a big 'un.
"I've been out here at night with another underkeeper. We have not had much luck yet, but you can see what it's been eating. It's been taking huge bites out of cabbages, carrots and turnips."
With the beast still at large, the mood in Felton has turned from fear to vengeful anger. Smith told a meeting of the local parish council on Monday: "When we get it killed - when we shoot it - we are going to hang it up on a tree so folk can see it."
Whether the locals then rushed to the village green with wooden agricultural implements and burning torches before storming into the night in search of the unholy creature's creator is not noted. Nick Park was unavailable for comment this morning. ®
Thanks to all those readers who've written to suggest that what the people of Felton really need is the Holy hand grenade of Antioch.