24-hour watch on Lucky the calf after his bid for freedom in mid-Norfolk

A farmer has thanked “the spirit of Norfolk” for the swift return of his calf which went missing over the weekend.

Lucky, a Belted Galloway calf, escaped through a damaged electric fence at a farm in mid-Norfolk, between Bradenham and Holme Hale, at about 6am on Saturday, June 10.

The community rallied round to help by taking to the roads and calling for help on social media and the calf was found at around 12.45pm on Sunday.

Julian Pearson, who has run Red Barn beef and sheep farm since 2010, said: “I really have to thank the spirit of Norfolk for Lucky’s safe return. Everyone was so eager and willing to help.”

Lucky is now locked in a barn until Mr Pearson believes he can again put a halter on him and put him back in the field, and the electric fence has been repaired.

He said: “He’s now under 24-hour watch of our CCTV, which we normally use to monitor the lambing and calving and the other vulnerable areas of the farm.”

Lucky, who weighs 120kg, was born on Friday, January 13, 2017, and Mr Pearson said that should have been an omen he would be trouble.

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Lucky made his escape when it was time to remove the calves from their mothers.

The 55-year-old added: “With the recent rain and good weather combination, the grass had surged and had earthed out a temporary electric fence I had installed. Lucky plotted his escape and took his half-sibling, Lovejoy with him, through the ineffective electric fence.

“When I went to check on all the livestock, Lovejoy was there on the driveway, and it was easy to lead him back to the field, but that’s when I realised I was a calf missing.

“I made a few phone calls to local landowners, posted on Facebook for people to share, and neighbour Danielle Glavin took to Twitter to ask for help.

“We sorted out Ordinance Survey maps and grid patterns, so we could ask people to check specific squares.

“Around lunchtime I got a call telling me Lucky was found in the paintballing woods about a mile or so north-west of the farm.”

But Lucky was not going to be easy to catch, he added.

“So I took the trailer and called upon the services of my very first pet cow, Evie. I led her out of the trailer. Once Lucky saw her, as expected, he followed her back to the trailer in trust.”

Has one of your prized animals recently made a bid for freedom? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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