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Serbians get vampire warning
The garlic defence: People in a western Serbian village are being warned to guard against a homeless vampire. File picture: Robert Duncan/The West Australian

We are used to public health warnings telling us to slip, slop, slap, don't drink and drive or just plain quit. But what about an official warning to beware vampires?

The Daily Mail website reports that residents of the western Serbian village of Zarozje had been given a public health warning recently by the town's mayor who said a vampire was on the loose.

The website reported that the name of the alleged blood-sucker name was Sava Savanovic who, according to local folklore, once lived in an old water mill on the village's Rogacica River

"It is said Sava Savanovic drank the blood of anybody that came to mill their grain," the British website said.

The property recently collapsed through lack of repair, years after the death of Sava Savanovic.

But for locals the collapse of the building sparked rumours that the vampire was now free to strike fear once again.

The Mail quoted local mayor Miodrag Vujetic as saying, "People are worried, everybody knows the legend of this vampire and the thought that he is now homeless and looking for somewhere else and possibly other victims is terrifying people. We are all frightened."

"He added that it was all very well for people who didn't live in the area to laugh at their fears but he said nobody in the region was in any doubt that vampires do exist," The Mail said.

"He confirmed that the local council had advised all villagers to put garlic on their doors and windows to protect them from the vampire as it was well known they can't stand the smell."

Villagers were also advised to put a holy cross in every room.