A NEW craze hit Herefordshire five years ago, sending people out searching for new and rare Pokémon around the county.

Monuments became cherished Pokéstops and landmarks were transformed into ‘gyms’ when the Pokémon Go game, which allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures called Pokémon launched.

They appear on device screens as though in the real world, with the game making use of GPS and the device’s camera.

In Herefordshire a dedicated Facebook page was set up, offering tips, advice, and a platform for local players to communicate.

Josh Nice, who ran the page with Carl Haffenden and a number of other admins, said in July 2016: “It started last week as just as a thing for me and my group of friends and it has grown due to the popularity of the game.

“More than 1,000 people have now liked it in just in a week.

“I would say Pokémon Go is a way of getting out, exercising in the fresh air while playing a game. It sees people spending time with friends to find things and exploring and it’s a way of getting the community together.”

He said the game offers a sense of nostalgia, allowing people to exercise while exploring their local area.

“Another thing is that if you click on the part where it says where the Pokéstop is, it has information and history about the area,” he said.

“For instance, the monument on Whitecross is probably assumed to be related to military but it is actually a plague cross.”

But the arrival of the game was not all good news, with reports of people trespassing while playing the game, prompting a warning from Ledbury police.

They urged players not to inadvertently trespass onto private property and that, due to threat levels, anyone found on a police site without authorisation would be challenged.