It’s a ram raid! Police herd breakaway sheep off fast road

PC Graham Brooks with the sheep in Bexwell, near Downham Market. Picture: PC ROD MORRISON

PC Graham Brooks with the sheep in Bexwell, near Downham Market. Picture: PC ROD MORRISON - Credit: Archant

They are more used to catching criminals on the run than dealing with fugitive livestock.

But two police officers were left feeling a little bit sheepish after breakaway sheep made a run for it on a fast rural road.

PCs Rod Morrison and Graham Brooks might have expected to be dealing with a different kind of ram raid when they got the call to Downham Road in Bexwell, near Downham Market, at around 7.15am on Wednesday, June 20.

Instead of chasing a potential suspect, the pair found themselves closing the road in a bid to trap the sheep and herd them back to safety after the animals made a run for it when their farm's electric wire fencing broke.

The ensuing scene was more like something from a Benny Hill programme than the movie Police Academy, with the PCs forming a circle around the sheep and moving in ever closer whilst holding their arms out to try and usher them back to the field.

'One of them went through the gap and then we had to start all over again,' PC Morrison said.

'A bit of Benny Hill music would've done quite well.'

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And their skills rounding up animals were tested again later in the day, when the sheep made two more bids for escape - one a couple of hours later and one later that afternoon.

The fences at Bexwell have now been fixed, meaning the sheep should be kept safely from the road in future.

Although many people will see the funny side, the incident showed the variety of what police officers have to deal with on a daily basis - particularly in a rural county such as Norfolk.

'We're called out on quite a frequent basis to goats, horses or geese in the road,' PC Morrison said.

'If there is an obstruction in a road with a speed limit of 40mph or more, we have to respond because the effects can be damage to vehicles or even threats to life.'

Landowners are usually allowed a few chances if their animals do escape but if escapes happen repeatedly, PC Morrison said it could be escalated to organisations like the RSPCA.

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