Mooo-ving, they keep mooo-ving! We go in search of Heacham’s escaped cattle

EDP Reporter Andrew Papworth with the wanted poster for the escaped herd by the village sign in Heac

EDP Reporter Andrew Papworth with the wanted poster for the escaped herd by the village sign in Heacham. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Reporter Andrew Papworth goes in search of the 'Heacham Four'.

As a journalist with nearly 10 years' experience on regional newspapers, I have covered everything from murders, car crashes and fires to exposing wrongdoing at councils and shocking healthcare at hospitals.

Nothing however could prepare me for my latest investigative assignment – tracking down the Heacham Four.

Since escaping from a field at around 11am on Wednesday, the animals have steered well away from public view.


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Farmer Terry Sanderson, police officers and workers from the Ken Hill Estate, which owns the land, have all been searching – but so far in vain.

Even though the bullocks weigh several tonnes collectively, Mr Sanderson, 65, warned me it was 'like trying to find a needle in a haystack'.

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The animals, Mr Sanderson said, could be anywhere from arable land towards Snettisham and woodland towards Hunstanton, to the marshes between Heacham and King's Lynn.

A spokesman for the Ken Hill Estate said it was quite likely they would have joined cows on another farm, meaning they would effectively be cow-moo-flaged.

He explained: 'It's quite surprising how something that size can get lost in the countryside. It's quite extraordinary but they're quite difficult to spot.'

To add to my woes, the cattle move around by night, when it is cooler and they can graze away from the heat.

My investigation would also not be without a hint of danger – one of the animals that escaped barged into a house in Station Road, Heacham, causing extensive damage inside, and another had to be shot after attacking its owner.

I would therefore have to tread carefully and started by doing what any good detective would do, namely tracing the bullocks' movements in the crucial hours after the escape.

I visited Heacham yesterday and had a moo-ch around the fields and ditches to see where they might have gone… but no joy.

I thought some publicity might be useful, so I took some Wanted posters into the town and had a chat with a few residents.

There I bumped into Phyllis Sanderson, Terry's mother, who described how she saw one of the loose animals running in Fenside on its way to Station Road.

Sadly however, no one could shed any more light on where the Heacham Four were, although the Ken Hill Estate spokesman said: 'I can't really believe they're roaming the streets of Heacham.'

Usually, missing animals are easy to find – but not these bullocks.

Despite our thorough investigations, the missing animals still remain unac-cow-nted for.

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