A GREAT Sankey scientist is the brains behind a new product that attacks gardeners’ number one enemy - but isn’t harmful to children or pets.

Dr Russell Sharp has developed Slugger, which is a liquid treatment to control slugs - the top pest in British gardens.

Traditionally green-fingered gardeners put down slug pellets in the summer to protect their plants and flowers but these are not only poisonous to slugs, they’re also harmful to children and pets too.

Slugger is a liquid that soaks through the soil attacking the slugs that never venture to the surface and live under crops eating them from the roots up.

Crucially, it won’t attract pets or children as it leaves no trace in the garden.

Russell, who is a former pupil at Great Sankey High School and attended Barrow Hall College, said: “Slug pellets contain pasta wheat to attract the pests but this also attracts dogs and cats as well.

“The pellets are poisonous to slugs but also poisonous to pets and children.

“My new product is proving popular with gardeners and pet owners alike as everyone knows how dangerous slug pellets can be.

“It replaces these traditional slug pellets and is safe for dogs, cats and children who might be playing in the garden.”

Slugs and snails can carry a parasite called lungworm, which grows inside pets if they ingest the garden pests.

More than 120 cases of lungworm have been reported in the Warrington area – a condition that can be fatal to dogs if left untreated.

Nine per cent of dogs that are infected with the disease die from issues related to lungworm, which can include coughing, changes in breathing or struggling to breathe, going off food, upset stomach with vomiting and/or diarrhoea, weight loss, tiredness, unexplained or excessive bruising, pale gums and bleeding.

There are 123 cases in a 50-mile radius of Warrington, which covers popular walking spots like Tatton Park, Formby Beach and Southport.

In Warrington itself there are six registered cases of lungworm so far on Liverpool Road in Great Sankey, Fitzherbert Street in Orford and two on Wilderspool Causeway.

There are also cases on Knutsford Road in Grappenhall and Dudlow Green Road in Appleton.

A number of these locations are registered veterinary centres, so may not reflect lungworm hotspots in Warrington.

READ MORE: Warrington dog owners warned as fatal disease spreads in UK

Russell said: “There’s no denying that pellets kills slugs which obviously kills the lungworm parasite.

“However, the fact they’re attractive to curious dogs has long been an issue for gardeners with pets.

“My product kills slugs – and the worms inside – so prevents infecting dogs and cats but also prevents the accidental poisoning of animals by slug pellets.”

He added: “Slugger also has massive potential in treating potato crops on farms which are routinely decimated by slugs eating the tasty tubers.

“Modern slug pellets only work on the surface, whilst the vast majority of slugs live in the soil and never venture onto the surface.

“Slugger’s ability to work in the soil as well as on top is a major plus point for potato farmers.”

Russell is no stranger to making big strides in the world of horticulture and how he can protect, nourish and grow crops successfully.

Earlier this year, Russell told the Warrington Guardian how he was able to offer hydroponic samphire – samphire grown in enriched water without soil – that is so clean and fresh it can even be eaten raw.

READ MORE: Tasty delicacy can be grown all year round thanks to Warrington scientist

Samphire is a strong salty vegetable that is growing in popularity and often served with fish and seafood dishes.

It’s usually cultivated in the UK in the summer and imported from abroad in colder months but thanks to Russell and his hydroponics farm Eutrema in Daventry samphire can now be grown all year round.