Forget about Iran’s nuclear programme, North Korea’s naval assaults and the security implications of global warming. In north Yorkshire, a new threat to the local way of life has emerged – hungry and insolent sheep.
I thank my sister in Geneva, who spotted this excellent story and forwarded it to me:
Hungry sheep on the Yorkshire moors have taught themselves to roll 8ft (3m) across hoof-proof metal cattle grids – and raid villagers’ valley gardens.
The crafty animals have also perfected the skill of hurdling 5ft (1.5m) fences and squeezing through 8in (20cm) gaps.
They have destroyed several gardens and even graze on the village park, bowling green, cricket field and graveyard.
The grids were installed 10 years ago after a gardener in Marsden, near Huddersfield, held stray sheep hostage.
Dorothy Lindley, a Conservative councillor in the former textile town on the edge of the Pennine uplands in West Yorkshire, said: “They lie down on their side, or sometimes their back, and just roll over and over the grids until they are clear.
“I’ve seen them doing it. It is quite clever but they are a big nuisance to villagers.
“They eat plants, flowers and vegetables in gardens.
“It is soul destroying.
“Registered commoners”, who can claim rights of open grazing going back to medieval times, pasture the sheep on moorland owned by the National Trust.
Mrs Lindley added: “What amazes us is they are not frightened.
“When you try to move them on they look at you as if to say it is their patch and you are not right in the head.
“You can shout at them and even if they see a dog they are not frightened.
“Several drivers have had to swerve to avoid hitting the animals and damaged their cars or been given a terrible shock.
I’m not sure which publication this came from – but there should be more reporting like this.